Skip to main content

A lightning storm rolled through the Okanagan valley Tuesday evening sparking several fires.

Donovan Wagner/Hiilite Photography

Evacuation orders and alerts have been issued in parts of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley after a cluster of wildfires broke out following a fierce lightning storm that swept across the southern Interior.

BC Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek said Thursday that a blaze burning four kilometres south of Peachland on the west side of Okanagan Lake was one of the most serious, but it was not the only active fire.

“We’ve got a cluster of fires that is of concern right now in the south Okanagan corridor from Kelowna south,” he said in an interview.

Story continues below advertisement

The so-called Mount Eneas fire prompted evacuation orders in the regional districts of Central Okanagan and Okanagan-Similkameen, with residents, campers and visitors directed to reception centres in West Kelowna and Penticton.

The latest evacuation order issued late Thursday due to the Mount Eneas blaze affected several properties in the District of Summerland while some 90 other properties were placed on an evacuation alert.

Okanagan Lake Provincial Park was one of several campsites and nine properties evacuated late Wednesday as the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen declared a state of local emergency.

Flames from the Mount Eneas fire also jumped Highway 97 on Wednesday, Skrepnek said, so RCMP and Ministry of Transportation crews were leading drivers by pilot vehicles along that smoky stretch of road after it reopened Thursday.

A second fire, identified by Skrepnek as the Peachland Creek blaze, led to the evacuation of 34 properties early Thursday just north of Summerland, and those residents were urged to register at the reception centre in Penticton.

Across Okanagan Lake, an evacuation alert was posted for a third wildfire estimated at more than two-square kilometres, burning in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park just outside the southern limits of the City of Kelowna.

About a dozen fires had been sparked in the Okanagan corridor in a 24-hour period, Skrepnek said, making the Kamloops Fire Centre, which oversees the region, the busiest of the provincial fire centres.

Story continues below advertisement

“We are moving resources in from elsewhere in the province, from quieter areas where we can free up resources,” he said, adding that additional helicopters and fixed-wing, water-skimming air tankers were also en route.

Firefighters loaned this month to Ontario and Quebec will also be brought home sooner than expected, he said.

“It’s not going to be an immediate recall, but definitely the plan is to bring them back earlier than planned and then cycle them in so they can start to relieve some of the crews we’ve got deployed in B.C. now.”

The wildfire service reports 77 new fires had been sparked across the province over a 48 hour period, including the 1.5-square kilometre blaze northwest of Vanderhoof that has resulted an evacuation alert.

Cooler weather was giving crews a slight reprieve, Skrepnek said, but conditions remain unsettled, with the potential for more lightning and a forecast that called for a return to high temperatures by the weekend.

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter