Wildfire claiming homes

Wednesday's updates can be found here.

UPDATE 10:55 p.m.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen says a total of 18 homes are presently under an evacuation order, with another 165 under alert. Many more, up to 100, were evacuated voluntarily. 

The advisory evacuation alert comprises the entire southern half of Kaleden, according to the RDOS. A full list of the impacted addresses can be found here. Evacuees are being asked to register at the Penticton Community Centre for emergency assistance.

Meanwhile, FortisBC says the majority of their customer’s power has been restored in Kaleden. A total of about 170 initially homes had their power cut.

UPDATE 10:05 p.m.

As night falls, the wildfire in Kaleden continues to burn an area of about 5.5 hectares. 

The BC Wildfire Service has 26 firefighters working on the blaze through the evening, with more crews joining in come morning. 

Despite remaining at 5.5 hectares in size for the past several hours, Max Birkner, fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, could not say if crews have been able to contain the fire at all, but says they'll have a better understanding in the morning. 

Meanwhile, FortisBC says the majority of their customer’s power has been restored. A total of 170 homes initailly had their power cut.

UPDATE 9:15 p.m.

A fire official told CTV News that the wildfire in Kaleden was most likely caused by humans, as there had been no lightning in the area prior to the start of the blaze.

Simon Hanchero, an evacuee, says he called 911 when he noticed a tall tree smoking. 

Kaleden Fire Chief Denis Gaudry said they received several reports at about 3:45 p.m. of a single tree on fire.

- With files from CTV Vancouver 

UPDATE 8:25 p.m.

Around 100 homes have been evacuated near Kaleden but several residents don't want to go very far.

Peter Troghan was evacuated with his wife along with his neighbours. His wife went to Penticton but he wants to stay close by for updates. 

"I just grabbed the important files and got out, I said I’m not leaving," he said. "I wish I could be down there at my house right now."

Simon Hanchero, another evacuee, said he was one of the people who called 911 when he noticed a tall tree starting to smoke. 

"I noticed the fire starting at around 4:00 p.m.," he said. "The only thing I had time to pick up was my mother-in-law and the cats and dogs and our family." 

Meaghan Willis, a woman who lived just up the hill from the fire, hasn't been evacuated yet, but she is packing her valuables. 

"I'm feeling very anxious knowing that fires can be very dangerous and unpredictable," she said. "I'm going to get together what's important and special and get ahold of my roommate and find out what he wants to do, and try to figure out how to deal with this."

The fire continues to burn in Kaleden and Fire Chief Denis Gaudry said crews will continue to work on battling the flames through the night. Evacuees have been checking into an emergency social services reception centre at the Penticton Community Centre all evening.

UPDATE 7:20 p.m.

Kaleden Fire Chief Denis Gaudry says 911 “just lit up” with initial reports of a single tree on fire around 3:45 p.m.

By the time crews arrived, the fire had spread in and around a number of homes along Oak Ave., with spot fires popping up in the nearby vineyards.

“We called for forestry help, air tankers and helicopters,” Gaudry said, adding the Okanagan Falls and Penticton Fire Departments were also called in.

Large areas from Oak Ave. down to the KVR trail have been burnt, with Gaudry confirming the loss of one out-building, and damage to one home, “that we know of.”

The fire is “absolutely not” contained, and evacuation orders will be expanded throughout the night.

“It will depend on what happens between now and dark, with the wind, and other fires that come up because we are having to jump around,” he said.

One Kaleden firefighter was treated for injuries by the BC Ambulance Service, but has since returned to duty.

UPDATE 6:50 p.m.

An officer at the scene tells Castanet at least two structures have now been lost to the fire.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says heavy smoke has forced their crews to the perimeter of the blaze, because they don't have breathing apparatuses like those used by municipal forces. The Kaleden and Penticton Fire Departments are doing the majority of the front line work.

The fire is now mapped at 5.5 hectares in size.

Evacuees are being asked to register with Emergency Social Services at the Penticton Community Centre at 325 Power Street.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has opened a reception centre. Those impacted can call 250-809-6561 for directions.

Tom Siddon, RDOS Director for Electoral Area "D" (Kaleden), says they are currently mobilizing assistance for those being forced from their homes.

UPDATE 5:55 p.m.

The B.C. Wildfire Service has 35 firefighters, two helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft, including two air tankers on the fire.

Fire Information Officer Justine Hunse says they are acting in a support role, because the blaze is located within the Kaleden Fire Department's jurisdiction. The Penticton Fire Department has continued to send support south, and a command centre has been established for all emergency services at the local fire hall.

Residents near the fire are continuing to evacuate.

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.

At least one home is fully engulfed in flames, according to Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth of the Penticton RCMP.

He says there have also been injuries, with an ambulance dispatched to the fire scene. The extent of those injuries is unknown at this time.

The B.C. Wildfire service will be releasing more information in about 15 minutes.

UPDATE 4:45 p.m.

The wildfire is reportedly burning on the hillside above the beach, near Ponderosa Point.

At the scene, Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth said the fire is burning quickly up the hill, with nearby residents being asked to evacuate. The Penticton Fire Department has been called in to assist.

Justine Hunse with the B.C. Wildfire Service called the one hectare fire a “rapidly developing situation,” adding that ground crews and air support is en route. She noted that structures are being threatened by the fire.

ORIGINAL 4:00 p.m.

Castanet is receiving reports of a wildfire in Kaleden, possibly threatening homes.

Witnesses say the fire sparked at around 3:45 p.m., very near the community. Some residents have begun packing their bags. The B.C. Wildfire Service says they have received reports of the fire, but are still gathering information.

Send video and pictures to news@castanet.



It's burning around us!!!

Posted by Kevin Captain K Rossion on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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