Small B.C. community ordered to evacuate from path of wildfire southwest of Penticton

Emergency officials ordered all residents to evacuate the BC community of Olalla, about 40 kilometers southwest of Penticton, due to the Keremeos Creek wildfire.

The unincorporated town, with a population of more than 400, was ordered to be completely evacuated on Thursday afternoon, affecting about 200 properties, at around 5pm by the Okanagan-Similkameen Area.

Half an hour later, residents from part of the village of Keremeos, BC, representing nearly 220 properties, were placed on evacuation alert by city and regional authorities,

Mikhail Elsay, a fire information officer with BC’s fire department, said: “This afternoon a cold front is approaching bringing with it winds much stronger than what we’ve seen in the past few days, This increases the fire behavior”. “We felt that we needed to expand evacuation orders just to protect communities fairly close to the fires.”

The Keremeos Creek wildfire burned out of control near BC’s Highway 3A on Tuesday. (Tom Popyk / CBC)

Service said on website Winds of over 30 km/h during the night pushed the fire downhill along Highway 3A, heading south of Olalla, despite crews working all night to keep the fire on the west side of the highway.

The regional county, which has had to evacuate residents from a total of 547 properties so far this wildfire season, said drivers should expect Highway 3A must be closed Thursday evening.

The Keremeos Creek wildfire, with an area of ​​43 square kilometers, has been steady for the past day.

Fire crews managed to contain it by lighting a series of planned fires near Highway 3A during the week.

There were 62 wildfires burning in the province as of Thursday evening, with the majority of the 156 fires that started in the past week having been extinguished.

Most of them are in the Kamloops Fire Center area, including the Okanagan.

Just over half of the province’s fires are suspected to be caused by lightning strikes.

BC Wildfire Service employees lit controlled fires in an effort to contain the growth of the Keremeos Creek wildfire 21 kilometers southwest of Penticton on Thursday. (BC Wildfire Service)

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