Don't stop on highway near White Rock Lake fire, DriveBC says

Falkland evacuation order

UPDATE: 10:57 p.m.

Drivers are being warned not to stop on Highway 97 between Kamloops and Vernon, where a fast-moving wildfire is threatening Falkland, Westwold and Monte Lake.

DriveBC is urging those on the road to avoid stopping for a 51-kilometre stretch between Salmon River Road and Barnhartvale Road — 11 kilometres east of Monte Creek to 16 kilometres east of Westwold.

“All through traffic cannot stop inside the noted area and must carry on due to wildfire conditions,” DriveBC said in an update.

Earlier Wednesday, evacuation orders were issued for Falkland, Westwold and Monte Lake due to the White Rock Lake fire, which is burning out of control nearby.

UPDATE 10:20 p.m.

The Regional District of North Okanagan added to the growing list of new evacuation orders with an expanded order covering Electoral Area B above Westside Road.

The Order now includes properties located on the west side of Irish Creek Road and Beatrice Road due to the White Rock Lake wildfire (#K61884).

UPDATE 9:50 p.m.

The entire community of Falkland is now under evacuation order due to the threat of the White Rock Lake fire.

The order was issued at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

it comes on the heels of two others going out late in the day, as the fire flared up due to winds, and with more in the forecast.

The TNRD issued an evacuation order for an area including Westwold and Monte Lake and the Okanagan Indian Band ordered people out of an area that includes properties along Westside Road.

UPDATE 9 p.m.

The Thompson Nicola Regional District has issued an evacuation order for residents in Electoral Area “L” (Grasslands).

It covers 271 properties and those in the evacuation zone must leave immediately.

The addresses are:

  • 5644 to 5737 Back Rd;
  • 4732 to 4754 Buff Frontage Rd;
  • 6607 to 6725 Bulman Rd;
  • 6539 Douglas Lake Rd;
  • 3526 to 6975 Hwy 97;
  • 4120 to 4249 Kristianson Rd;
  • 3787 to 3862 Mill Rd;
  • 3754 to 3903 Monte Lake Rd;
  • 3928 to 5070 Paxton Valley Rd;
  • 6639 Pringle Rd;
  • 6572 and 6593 Service Rd;
  • 4294 Strong Rd;
  • 5469 to 5545 Westlund Rd;
  • 6365 to 6504 Westwold Station Rd; and
  • any properties within the boundary outlined on the attached map.

find the latest operational update on the fire from BCWS here

UPDATE 8:30 p.m.

The Okanagan Indian Band has issued a new evacuation order due to the vigorous fire activity.

Members of the local RCMP, Search and Rescue, and other agencies are expediting the order that includes addresses between 11497 Smith Cres. (north end) and 11071 Westside Rd./Mud Hole Rd. (south end), westward to the Reserve boundary.

Streets included in the Evacuation Order area include:

  • Stump Rd Bonneau Rd. Black Gulch Rd.
  • Smith Cres Jack Rd. Williams Lane
  • Alexander Rd. Jack Ln. Tuma’s Rd.
  • Westside Rd. (11100 – 11600 block) Battleplace Rd. Su?q’im Rd.
  • Louis Rd. Marchand Rd. Royal Rd.
  • Eagle Nest Rd. Mary Ann’s Rd. Whitetail Rd.
  • Whitetail Way Six Mile Creek Rd. Imtil Rd.
  • Victoria Rd. Mini-Shadows Rd. Siwash Creek Rd.

UPDATE 7:45 p.m.

Forecasted winds of approximately 30 km/hr are raising concerns the White Rock Lake wildfire could intensify.

The Shuswap Emergency Program posted an update saying vigorous fire activity was observed Wednesday.

Mobile firefighting strike teams will be stationed in strategic areas including Westwold and Falkland and bulldozers are being loaded onto low-bed trailers, so they can be moved quickly into areas of concern.

The latest concern is the forecast winds could push the fire towards the west and southwest.

Structure protection personnel have completed an assessment of Monte Lake towards the Falkland Corridor via Highway 97, as well as along Westside Road. SEP notes preparations are in place to defend Westwold, Falkland, Cedar Hills, Pinaus Lake and communities along Westside road, including Okanagan Indian Band IR#1.

The status of evacuation orders and alerts are being frequently evaluated.

UPDATE: 2 p.m.

Officials are warning residents near the large White Rock Lake wildfire to be ready for new evacuation orders, as the wildfire is showing aggressive behaviour Wednesday.

In a press release Wednesday afternoon, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations said all residents under evacuation alerts should be prepared to leave their homes.

“While there is no change in the evacuation order and alert for areas of the Regional District of Central Okanagan for the moment, the White Rock Lake wildfire is showing aggressive behaviour,” the regional district said. “Residents in alert areas should be prepared to leave on short notice if conditions in the area change.”

Currently, the 32,500 hectare fire has forced the evacuation of 671 properties in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District, the Regional District of North Okanagan and the Regional District of Central Okanagan, along with additional properties on Okanagan Indian Band land.

“Residents are reminded that it is unsafe to be in evacuated areas and their presence can put emergency operations personnel in harm’s way,” the RDCO says.

“RCMP are patrolling within the evacuation area and will be requesting residents leave immediately. Structural fire crews are also in the area conducting assessments.”

Thousands more properties are under evacuation alert, from the Monte Creek area east of Kamloops in the north all the way south near Traders Cove off Westside Road. The fire is currently burning about 8.5 kilometres west of Westside Road.

“The alert area also includes all public lands located north of Bear and Esperon Forest Service Road,” the RDCO says.

“Drivers should be aware the area is restricted to local traffic only. Should fire conditions change, all people on alert must be prepared to leave their home or campsite on short notice.”

Castanet will be immediately updating this story with any new evacuation orders if they are made.

UPDATE: 1:20 p.m.

A boost given by weekend rains is drying up at the massive White Rock Lake wildfire burning between Vernon and Kamloops.

Atmospheric instability today and into the evening could develop thunderstorms, the BC Wildfire Service says.

Crews will continue to protect and secure the fire perimeter along the north flank, west of Douglas Lake Road.

Northeast of the fire perimeter, crews and heavy equipment are working to secure the guard along Adelphi Road towards Wood Lake. Heavy machinery is also working on building a contingency guard further north of the perimeter.

Crews along the southern flank of the fire will continue working along Beautiful Road to mop up a fire excursion south of Salmon River Forest Service Road, east of Salmon Lake.

Forward planning specialists and line locators are working towards establishing a feasible southern control line using a combination of forest service roads, lakes, and pre-existing machine guards.

The wildfire service notes that the flight restricted area above the fire was adjusted over the weekend to ensure it didn't impact commercial flights at Kelowna International Airport.

Heavy smoke on Sunday and Monday forced aircraft to adjust their instrument approach, which caused flight delays and cancellations. With the absence of smoke, approaches will no longer be affected.

ORIGINAL: 10:20 a.m.

The White Rock Lake wildfire burning between Vernon and Kamloops saw a slight decrease in smoke on Tuesday, which allowed BC Wildfire Service personnel to better track its southern and eastern fire perimeter.

The fire has burned an estimated 32,500 hectares and has moved to within 8.5 kilometres of Westside Road and the western shores of Okanagan Lake.

The slight downturn in fire activity caused by the last rainfall is now gone, and forecast winds may significantly impact fire activity, the wildfire service said Wednesday.

“As of last night, the most eastern perimeter of the fire was approximately 8.5 kilometres west of Westside Road. The decrease in smoke has also allowed aircraft to be safely utilized for fire suppression efforts,” the BCWS updated.

There are currently 136 firefighters, 10 danger tree fallers/assessors, 43 pieces of heavy equipment, 11 helicopters, 14 support staff, and 117 structure protection personnel from 25 different fire departments assigned to the massive fire.

On the northwest flank today, crews will be actioning a small excursion to the northwest of the fire perimeter.

Crews are supporting fire guards with hose lay and a water delivery system, and will use direct attack on the fire where possible from Pratt Road to Monte-Camp Road.

Where site conditions permit, crews will be completing small hand ignitions to burn fuels off from Mowing Machine Forest Service Road to tie in to control lines along the southwest flanks, the BCWS says.

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