Strong winds fan fires

UPDATE: 12:20 a.m.

While earlier reports indicated the evacuations near Peachland were due to the Mount Eneas wildfire, it appears the separate Munro Lake wildfire caused those evacuations.

"By tomorrow, they'll probably all be Mount Eneas but right now it's separate and it's burning northwest of Mount Eneas fire," said Bruce Smith at the Central Okanagan Regional District Emergency Operations Centre. 

Strong winds in the area through the night are causing extremely active wildfire activity.

UPDATE: 11:15 p.m

Three more homes have been evacuated late Thursday night due to the Mount Eneas wildfire, this time at the north end of the fire. 

Strong, gusting winds have increased the threat from the 1,000 hectare fire, forcing the evacuation of three homes on Log Chute Road, just west of Antlers Beach. Several homes west of the evacuation zone, to the lake, are on evacuation alert. 

Additionally, a local state of emergency has been declared in the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area. 

Residents in the area had reached out to Castanet Thursday evening with concerns about the encroaching flames in the area. 

Evacuees have been asked to head to West Kelowna's Lakeview Heights Baptist Church to register at the Emergency Support Services reception centre.

These three homes are the northernmost evacuations so far from the Mount Eneas fire. Further evacuations have occurred east of the fire, along Okanagan Lake, and south of the fire, in the Garnet Valley area. 

UPDATE: 10:30 p.m.

Flames are coming dangerously close to evacuated homes in the Garnet Valley area Thursday night. 

Castanet's Colton Davies, looking north from Handley Street, says flames from the Mount Eneas wildfire continue to move south, encroaching on homes along Garnet Valley Road. 

It's unclear at this time if any homes have been impacted by the fire. 

UPDATE: 8:25 p.m.

Castanet's Colton Davies is in the Garnet Valley area Thursday night, and he'll be going live from the scene on Castanet shortly.

UPDATE 8:15 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service says they are focusing their suppression efforts on the southern end of the Mount Eneas Wildfire, near Garnet Valley, Thursday evening. 

Forty-three homes along the northern section of Garnet Valley Road have been evacuated, and 86 more homes along the southern section of Garnet Valley Road were placed under an evacuation alert Thursday night. 

A further 38 homes are evacuated to the east of the fire, along Okanagan Lake to the south and north of Okanagan Lake Provincial Park. Several West Kelowna and Peachland fire department trucks rushed to the Brent Road area earlier Thursday. 

Fifty-seven BC Wildfire Service firefighters are fighting the fire today, with the support of several local fire departments, along with air support. 

UPDATE 7:40 p.m.

Another 86 homes have been on put on evacuation alert due to the Mount Eneas wildfire, this time just a few-minute drive from downtown Summerland. 

The wildfire has forced the evacuation of a total of 81 homes, to the east of the 1000-hectare blaze along Highway 97, and to the south of it, along the north end of Garnet Valley Road. 

A full list of properties under the alert can be found here.

An evacuation alert was put in place Thursday evening for more homes along the Garnet Valley Road, south to Jones Flat Road. Jones Flat Road is a three-minute drive to downtown Summerland. 

Those under an evacuation alert must be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. 

Strong winds continue to fan the large fire's flames into the evening. 

UPDATE 6:10 p.m.

The estimated size of the Mount Eneas wildfire has doubled Thursday evening, with the BC Wildfire Service pegging it at 1,000 hectares. And structures in the area are threatened. 

The current update from the BC Wildfire Service says gusty and erratic winds in the area have increased fire behaviour.

Structural protection units have been deployed to the area, as homes are considered threatened. 

Fire crews from the Peachland and West Kelowna fire departments have been called in to assist BC Wildfire Service members, presumably to protect homes. The Penticton Fire Department has also been called into to help the Summerland Fire Department in Garnet Valley, where homes have been evacuated. 

Highway 97 is closed in both directions due to the blaze. 

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.

The Peachland and West Kelowna fire departments have been called to Peachland's Brent Road Thursday evening, an area that was evacuated Wednesday due to the Mount Eneas Wildfire. 

The 500-hectare blaze has consistently grown since it was sparked by lightning Tuesday. 

BC Wildfire Service crews have been fighting the blaze, with the assistance of air support, but at about 5 p.m., the two local fire departments were called in to assist. 

Castanet has also received a report that Highway 97 has been closed once again, after it was open to single-lane alternating traffic for most of the day. 

UPDATE 5:20 p.m.

Sixty more properties have been placed on evacuation alert due to the still-growing Mount Eneas Wildfire.

The properties under the recent alert are in the southern end of Peachland, and the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre says the alert impacts about 150 people. 

Homes under the alert include homes on Highway 97, several on Log Chute Road, a home on Hardy Street and several on Thorne Road. A full list of properties under the alert can be found here

Those under an evacuation alert must be prepared to leave at a moment's notice.

Dozens of properties have already been evacuated in the area due to the 500-hectare wildfire. Those evacuated from the Central Okanagan are asked to register at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church in West Kelowna. 

For evacuees farther south, an Emergency Services Reception Centre is set up at the Summerland Curling Club.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.

The District of Summerland has issued new evacuation orders for the north half of Garnet Valley due to the out-of-control Mount Eneas wildfire burning just north.

All homes north of, and including, Wildhorse Road, must leave the area immediately. RCMP is going door-to-door delivering evacuation notices.

The evacuation alert area has now been expanded to the rest of Garnet Valley Road, all points north of and including Jones Flat Road to Wildhorse. Residents under alert should prepare to evacuate on short notice.

An Emergency Services Reception Centre has been set up at the Curling Club at the Summerland Area (8820 Jubilee). All affected individuals within the evacuation order area are asked to register at the reception centre. Evacuees electing not to take advantage of emergency social services are still requested to register.

ORIGINAL 12:15 p.m.

The District of Summerland has just issued a precautionary local state of emergency over the entire municipality, as well as ordered the evacuation of two homes on Callen Road as the Mount Eneas wildfire continues to rage out-of-control just north.

The new evacuations at 23411 and 25200 Callan Road are in addition to 43 properties just outside district limits that the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen ordered vacated Wednesday night. Included in those, is all campgrounds in Okanagan Lake Provincial Park.

To the north, the Central Okanagan Regional District also ordered the evacuation of 7100 - 7210 Brent Road and 7212 – 7280 Highway 97 South on Wednesday night.

Summerland has placed the north half of Garnet Valley, everything beyond Wildhorse Road, under evacuation alert. A local state of emergency give a local government the ability to access private property without permission. 

The fire was last estimated at 500 hectares Thursday morning. Highway 97 is still down to single lane alternating traffic and motorists can expect delays of up to two hours.

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