Cool Creek now 6,000 ha

UPDATE: 9:35 p.m.

The Cool Creek wildfire in the Similkameen is now estimated to be 6,000 hectares, up substantially from only a few hours ago.

BC Wildfire Service information officer Steve Kada told Castanet on Friday afternoon the fire size would likely change from the estimate then of 5,000 hectares, as heavy smoke has limited mapping. 

The service said the blaze is "beyond resources at this time," adding "it is burning in inaccessible terrain and exhibiting extreme fire behaviour."

The fire, burning about 22 kilometres east of Eastgate, began on Wednesday from a lightning strike. It has merged with two other lightning-caused fires.

An evacuation alert is in place for a large rural area south of Princeton and Hedley, including Cathedral Lake Provincial Park. 

ORIGINAL: 4:40 p.m.

Three evacuation alerts have been issued for a large rural area in the Similkameen, due to the threat of the Cool Creek wildfire.

The alerts issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen affect Area G and Area H, south of the Crowsnest Highway, between Hedley and Princeton. Also put on alert is all of Cathedral Lake Provincial Park.

The RDOS said the alerts are "specifically... of particular importance to ranchers with cattle in the areas identified, as they should begin locating and moving all cattle to a safe area outside of the alert area."

No fixed addresses are included in any of the alerts.

The Cool Creek wildfire was sparked by lightning on Wednesday and has grown to 5,000 hectares.

BC Wildfire Service information officer Steve Kada said the blaze has merged with two other fires which were started by the same lightning event.

Kada added conditions are challenging in the area, with wind and increasing heat impacting the fire's behaviour.

The blaze is burning just north of the northwest edge of Cathedral Provincial Park, not far from where the 2,400-hectare Placer Mountain wildfire burned for nearly a month.

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