West Kelowna  

Evac alert north of 97C

UPDATE: 10:05 p.m.

Seven firefighters continue to fight the Mount Gottfriedsen wildfire through the night, along with the help of one bulldozer. 

The crew is working on the west flank of the fire. Earlier in the evening, the fire was growing towards the north. 

A large area north of the Okanagan Connector has been placed under an evacuation alert. The map of the area can be found below. 

UPDATE: 9:15 p.m.

An evacuation alert has been issued for a large area near the Pennask Summit, due to the aggressively burning Mount Gottfriedsen wildfire.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued the alert just after 9 p.m. Thursday, after the fire was sparked in the earlier in the afternoon by what was believed to be lightning.

“Due to the remoteness of the area, the alert is being issued using locations as reference points,” the TNRD said in a press release.

“The alert area shown on the map incorporates all properties, camping areas, etc. north of Highway 97C, including the following lakes: Pennask Lake (western boundary), Mellin Lake (northern boundary), Barton Lake (north-eastern boundary) and Eileen Lake (south-eastern boundary).”

The TNRD says the fire “poses an imminent threat to people and property,” but it's unclear at this time if there are homes in the area.

The BC Wildfire Service said earlier Thursday no homes were threatened by the fire, but the fire has been growing rapidly.

Those under an evacuation alert should be prepared to leave the area immediately.

UPDATE: 8:00 p.m.

The wildfire burning north of the Okanagan Connector Thursday night continues to grow rapidly, with the latest size estimate double what it was a couple hours ago. 

Fire information officer Brenna Ward says they are now estimating the fire to be 200 hectares in size.

Fortunately, the aggressive fire is growing towards the north, away from the highway and away from West Kelowna, which is about 24 kilometres away. 

Ward says they believe the fire was started by lightning in the area. She says more dry lightning is forecast for Friday. 

BC Wildfire Service firefighters continue to fight the fire with the help of bucketing helicopters, and personnel will remain on scene overnight. 

UPDATE: 7:20 p.m.

Three helicopters are en route to the Gottfriedsen Mountain wildfire burning 24 kilometres west of West Kelowna, to assist the seven firefighters battling the aggressively burning fire. 

While air tankers were originally headed to the scene, they have since been called off. 

The BC Wildfire Service continues to put the size of the blaze at about 100 hectares, but fire information officer Brenna Ward could not say at this time if the blaze is growing. 

Crews will remain on scene at the Gottfriedsen Mountain wildfire through the evening. 

UPDATE: 5:55 p.m.

The fast-growing wildfire burning near the Okanagan Connector is burning aggressively, with flames climbing high into tree tops. 

Fire information officer Brenna Ward says the fire is showing Rank 3 to 5 behaviour. Rank 3 is a vigorous surface fire while Rank 5 involves "crowning," where the fire burns into the tops of trees. 

"I'm guessing just based on the kind of fire behaviour we're seeing that it's pretty windy," Ward said. "That in combination with the fuels and the conditions, that's what's led to that fast growth."

Ground crews, along with air support and heavy equipment, are fighting the fire, which is burning about 24 kilometres west of West Kelowna.

UPDATE: 5:25 p.m.

As BC Wildfire Service crews respond to the rapidly growing wildfire burning just north of the Okanagan Connector, it's grown to about 100 hectares.

The Gottfriedsen Mountain wildfire is located about 24 kilometres west of West Kelowna. 

On Thursday afternoon, the BCWS responded to the blaze with ground crews, air support and heavy equipment. 

No structures are believed to be threatened at this time. 

Castanet will update this story as more information becomes available. 

ORIGINAL: 3:47 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service crews are responding to a new and aggressive fire burning west of West Kelowna.

The blaze is burning on Gottfriedson Mountain, about 24 kilometres west of the city and about eight km north of the Okanagan Connector.

No structures are threatened at this time.

More details to come.

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