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Evacuation alerts lifted around new wildfire on Highway 3

Evacuation alerts lifted

UPDATE 5:05 p.m.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has lifted all evacuation alerts around a wildfire that sparked overnight on Highway 3 near Chopaka.

The Richter Mountain wildfire has been remapped at 26 hectares.

“Wildfire crews will continue to contain the wildfire. Drivers are asked to take care in the area due to smoke and crews in the area,” the RDOS said in a brief notice.

The formal all-clear notice is here.

The fire is, however still classified as out of control. Response to the blaze was help by the large number of firefighters already nearby, dealing with the Keremeos Creek fire.

The fire, which is believed to have been sparked by a vehicle fire, is burning just north of the site of the 2019 Richter Mountain wildfire.


UPDATE 2:45 p.m.

A new wildfire burning on Richter Mountain has now been downgraded in size from 40 to 30 hectares due to an improved mapping of the fire.

Fire information officer Karley Desrosiers, on a video news conference Friday afternoon, confirmed the fire started about 1 a.m. next to Highway 3, but, despite pictures of a burned out semi next to a smoldering hillside, told those on the call the fire remains under investigation, and the cause has not been "officially confirmed."

"The fire did make its way up the mountain after starting near the highway this morning," said Desrosiers.

"It halted a bit when it got into the rockier terrain near the top where the fuels are a little more sparse."

A total of 34 firefighters are working the fire with the aid of bucketing helicopters.

Desrosiers says ground crews are working along each side building a fire guard. Helicopters are bucketing at the top between those guards.

The Richter Mountain fire is burning in an area where two previous wildfires burned, one just to the south and one slightly to the north.

She says there was an area of unburnt fuel that was not touched by those previous fires, allowing it to move upslope.


UPDATE 11:20 a.m.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has placed 29 properties on evacuation alert as a result of a new wildfire burning along Highway 3 between Osoyoos and Cawston.

The fire, which sparked from an overnight vehicle fire, has grown to 40 hectares in size.

The evacuation alert is for properties in the Sumac Road area along Highway 3.

Click here to access the list of properties placed on alert.

The alert was issued due to the potential danger to life and health from the fire.

Affected residents should prepare to evacuate their property if conditions warrant.


UPDATE 10 a.m.

The BC Wildfire Service says a team of 33 ground crew members are now battling a wildfire sparked overnight by a vehicle fire on Highway 3 near Chopaka.

The fire is now estimated to be 40 hectares in size. It is also being attacked by aerial resources and the Keremeos volunteer fire department.

The incident command team at the Keremeos Creek wildfire just north is managing the fire, said a BCWS spokesperson.

DriveBC reports Highway 3 is still open to single-lane alternating traffic.

"Limited visibility with smoke. Watch for traffic personnel. Be prepared to stop," DriveBC said.


ORIGINAL 6 a.m.

A vehicle fire overnight sparked a new wildfire west of Osoyoos.

The fire is between Osoyoos and Cawston, near the Nighthawk turnoff and spread from the vehicle to the forest.

The BC Wildfire Service dashboard shows a new ignition off Highway 3 estimated at four hectares in size, near Sumac Road.

DriveBC first reported the incident about 3:30 a.m.

It reports the vehicle fire between Chopaka Road and Nighthawk Road.

The highway is reduced to single-lane, alternating traffic for 6.6 kilometres, from 18 km east of Keremeos to 20 km west of Osoyoos.

Watch for traffic personnel and be prepared to stop.



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