Authorities in B.C. ordered residents of over 300 properties southwest of Penticton to evacuate due to ongoing wildfires.
BC Wildfire Service says the Keremeos Creek wildfire grew overnight between Friday and Saturday, and again between Sunday and Monday.
In a press conference, Bryan Zandberg, information officer for BC Wildfire Service, says the nearly 2,800 hectare fire’s growth and trajectory is difficult to predict. “Overall though, it is not a very organized fire, so we can’t just point and say ‘oh yeah it’s traveling this way or that way,’’’ he said.
Zandberg says 229 firefighters were working on Tuesday morning to help fight and protect against the fire. Over the course of the weekend, over 83 loads of retardant were dropped.
Our fixed wing aviation fleet had a busy long weekend, with 83 loads of retardant dropped, a total of 665,405 litres between July 29 and August 1. pic.twitter.com/TL8DCs92NC
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) August 3, 2022
The Regional District of Okanagan–Similkameen says residents of 324 properties have been ordered to evacuate so far. The district also says over 438 properties are currently on alert, meaning those residents should be ready to evacuate on very short notice.
Among the properties told to evacuate was Apex Mountain Resort. The resort is using snowmakers to keep the fire at bay, as seen from their live webcam feed.
Apex mountain resort appears to redeploy their snow makers as SPU (structural protection unit) sprinklers in the summer
…and actually it’s a brilliant idea pic.twitter.com/pzgTuPEeGs
— Thomas Martin (@ThomasforBC) August 1, 2022
A cabin is the only building that has been damaged by the fire, so far. Officials say no one was injured at the cabin.
As of Tuesday morning, B.C. Hwy. 3A was closed. Zandberg says emergency efforts have ramped up and part of the reason the highway closed was to assist ongoing firefighting efforts.
#BCHwy3A CLOSED due to a wildfire between #Keremeos and #BCHwy97 junction. Estimated time of opening not available. Detour not available. #Kaleden #BCWildfires
For more info: https://t.co/EdqtysMMVC pic.twitter.com/U65kEj2sKG
— DriveBC (@DriveBC) August 2, 2022
Officials are urging the public to follow evacuation orders. Zandberg says those who do not leave put themselves and emergency crews at greater risk. He also says by not leaving, people could be interfering with emergency operations.
People in the area can monitor the situation via the Wildfire Service and Regional District of Okanagan–Similkameen websites. Officials also urge members of the Similkameen Indian Band and the Penticton Indian Band to check their community websites to stay up-to-date with wildfire information and emergency measures.