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Wildfire evacuations

UPDATE 8:05 P.M.

The streets that have been evacuated in Rock Creek are Rock Creek Cemetery Road, Kettle Valley Road South and Hulme Creek Road, according to Alan Stanley, media contact for the Kootenay Boundary Fire Rescue.

Stanley did not have a count of how many homes or people were evacuated because of how fast the evacuation needed to take place. 

He said as far as he knew, the fire had not hit any structures yet, and nobody had been injured by the blaze. 

He said there are no other evacuation alerts in place at this time, but they are looking to put the rest of Rock Creek on evacuation alert. 


UPDATE 7:18 P.M.

The evacuees from Rock Creek to Westbridge are now heading to the Salvation Army Kelowna Community Church at Sutherland Avenue and Burtch Road, as the Willow Park Church was unavailable this evening.

Emergency Support Services are set up at the Sutherland location to assist the evacuees.


UPDATE 6:50 P.M.

Evacuees from Rock Creek to Westbridge are being directed to Willow Park Church in Kelowna on Highway 33, according to The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

Residents evacuated from north of Westbridge, up Christian Valley Road to Fiva Creek, are being directed up Christian Valley Road to Lumby.


UPDATE 4:45 P.M.

According to officials in Grand Forks people around the tiny community of Westbridge are being asked to leave their homes as a result of a growing wildfire near Rock Creek.

Evacuation notices are apparently being given to people living on Christian Valley Road.

The Kettle River Campground has also been evacuated.

Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital in West Kelowna has volunteered their space for evacuees' animals. Dr. Oz, at the hospital, asks evacuees to call him at 250-769-9109 if they need a place for their pets.


UPDATE 4:20 P.M.

Highway 33 is also closed in both directions from Rock Creek to McCulloch Road, due to the forest fire. Highway 3 is also closed in both directions west of Rock Creek.

Power to the area around Rock Creek is out.


UPDATE 3:35 P.M.

Highway 3 is closed in both directions 2 kilometres west of Rock Creek due to the wildfire.

According to DriveBC there is no detour available and no estimated time of reopening.


UPDATE 3:20 P.M.

The wildfire burning along Highway 33 near Rock Creek continues to burn very aggressively, according to fire information officer Fanny Bernard.

It was earlier estimated the fire was about four hectares in size. Bernard said it is hard to accurately map a current size due to the heavy concentration of smoke.

There have been reports from residents that the fire has jumped the Kettle River.

Bernard said there are homes in the vicinity, however, she isn't sure how far they are from the fire.

No word on possible evacuations.

Air tankers and two helicopters are fighting the fire from the air. An initial attack crew, 10 ground personnel, the Midway Volunteer Fire Department and highways crews are working on the ground.

Heavy machinery is en route.


ORIGINAL

A four-hectare wildfire is burning near Highway 33, just north of Rock Creek.

Fanny Bernard, fire information officer with the Southeast Fire District in Castlegar, said the fire was reported about 1:30 Thursday afternoon.

One air tanker and an initial attack crew are on the scene.

Residents in the area say trees are candling. They suggest motorists avoid using the highway.

While there was some lightning throughout the Okanagan last night, Bernard said there is no indication this fire was started as a result of lightning.

"If this is a human caused fire, it is really regrettable," she said.

"If this is a cigarette butt thrown out the window, it's even worse because we've had so much messaging about that all summer, and there have been quite a few fires started by cigarettes so far."



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