Fires burning southwest of Keremeos prompt evacuation orders, alerts

Click to play video: 'BC wildfires: Firefighters ‘counterintuitively’ starting fires to bring situation under control'
BC wildfires: Firefighters ‘counterintuitively’ starting fires to bring situation under control
It has been an unprecedented summer for wildfires across Canada but especially in British Columbia. More than 30 new fires have sparked in that province within the past 24 hours. Firefighters are using all the tools at their disposal and this weekend, that means starting new fires in order to get the situation under control. Elissa Carpenter explains – Aug 6, 2023

A menacing column of smoke visible from points across the Okanagan  Tuesday night followed increased activity within the Crater Creek wildfire, burning about 18 kilometres southwest of Keremeos.

The highly visible formation of smoke, which increased in size and bulk throughout the early evening, prompted many calls to the wildfire service tip line, Kyla Preto, a BC Wildfire Service information officer said Tuesday night.

The Crater Creek wildfire has been burning for the better part of a month, meaning wildfire officials were aware of  it, though Preto said the calls are appreciated.

Click to play video: 'Kamloops Fire Centre update'
Kamloops Fire Centre update

The fire, mapped at 697 hectares, and the Gillanders Creek wildfire, mapped at 480 ha, are burning in steep and dangerous terrain, “challenging response efforts and posing a significant risk to responder safety on the ground,” BC Wildfire said.

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Based on changing conditions in the fire area Tuesday night, the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen issued evacuation alerts and orders.

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An evacuation order was issued covering a dozen properties the area along the Ashnola River in the Cathedral Provincial Park including Cathedral Lakes Lodge and the Snowy Protected Area, the regional district said.

Another evacuation alert was issued, covering Electoral Area “G” along the Similkameen River from the Village of Keremeos going west following Highway 3 for 13 kilometres is now also under an Evacuation Alert.

BC Wildfire is still trying to get on top of the fire.

“Responder safety remains the top priority of the BC Wildfire Service,” BC Wildfire said in a message posted about the fire Tuesday night.

“Due to the hazard posed by the very steep terrain at this location, crews assigned to this fire are working only where it is safe to do so, and a Modified Response approach will be taken.”


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