Furious residents are stuck asking the question,"why didn’t BC Wildfire Service respond faster to a wildfire on Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park?"
As many watched from their homes, the fire rapidly spread from a “spot fire” to a large 200 hectares and growing.
The location has residents on edge after this wildfire brings back frightening memories from a wildfire in 2003 at the same location.
BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Jody Lucius said the reason they didn’t respond right away is because it wasn’t a priority.
“Because of the number of starts over the last 24 hours in the Okanagan Similkameen area we are having to assess fires based largely on a prioritized matrix that include life and property at the top of the list,” she said.
Lucius said because the fire isn’t burning directly in an area they would consider structure threatened it wasn’t right at the top of their list.
But residents living in the area said they watched it grow from 500 to 1,000 metres in just 20 minutes.
Overnight, they couldn’t keep an eye on the fire and said it would likely grow.
“Because of the location of it and because we cant have planes in the air overnight I don’t believe anyone will be watching it but we are anticipating it will grow,” said Lucius.
An evacuation alert for properties at 6006 to 8888 Lakeshore Road went into place on Wednesday night telling residents to be prepared to leave on short notice.
BC Wildfire Service said they will be bucketing on the fire today and sending additional resources.