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All of Olalla under evacuation order as Keremeos Creek wildfire grows in Okanagan

Fast-moving winds became a concern for the incident management team overnight
The Keremeos Creek wildfire is an estimated 4,250 hectares in size, not taking into account overnight growth. (Heather Haughian- Western News)

UPDATE: 6:50 p.m.

The Keremeos Creek wildfire has forced the evacuation of 20 more homes south of Olalla.

Highway 3A from Highway 97 to Keremeos is currently closed to traffic, with drivers asked to detour through Osoyoos via Highway 3.

The Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen has issued an evacuation order for south of Olalla up to Liddicoat Road.


UPDATE: 6 p.m.

The Village of Keremeos north of Highway 3 / 7th Avenue is now under an evacuation alert.

The Village of Keremeos and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued the alert about 6 p.m. due to the threat of the Keremeos Creek wildfire.

An evacuation alert is issued to prepare residents to evacuate their premises or property should it be found necessary.


UPDATE: 5:20 p.m.

All of Olalla, along Highway 3A in Electoral Area “G” is now under evacuation as of 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4.

The evacuation order involves over 170 properties on the east side of Highway 3A. The majority of addresses on evacuation are on Main Street with others on 3rd, 4th, 9th and more.

To see the full list of addresses impacted click here.

RCMP and other agencies are expediting the evacuation order.

Residents under evacuation order are asked to register with Emergency Support Services. The reception centre at Princess Margaret Secondary School at 120 Green Ave in Penticton will remain open tonight as needed. ESS can also be reached by residents at 250-328-8749.

BC Wildfire began monitoring a cold front about 4 p.m. that was approaching the Keremeos Creek wildfire. Cold front passages are usually associated with higher wind speeds and shifting wind directions, which can increase fire behaviour and growth.

Crews are preparing by reinforcing existing control lines and mopping up the existing fire edge. Structure protection crews are being deployed as necessary to bolster existing structure protection systems.


ORIGINAL: 2 p.m.

Dozens of additional properties along Highway 3A near Olalla are now under evacuation as the Keremeos Creek wildfire continues to grow past 4,250 hectares, Thursday afternoon.

Fast-moving winds drove the fire downhill overnight towards Olalla, prompting new orders for 41 properties on the west side of the highway.

Crews were successful in their structure defense around the Cedar Creek drainage through the night, according to the incident management team, with winds in excess of 30 kilometers an hour continuing to be the biggest contributing factors to the increased fire behaviour.

“They experienced some pretty strong downslope winds, which is unusual,” said Mikhail Elsay, a fire information officer. “That was a challenge, but they were successful in controlling the fire above the properties there.”

Residents must leave the area immediately, with the order in effect for the west side of Highway 3A in Olalla and south of Olalla.

Additional properties on evacuation order, amid the Keremeos Creek wildfire. (Photo- RDOS)
Additional properties on evacuation order, amid the Keremeos Creek wildfire. (Photo- RDOS)

A total of 175 firefighters and an additional 170 structural protection personnel are currently assigned to work the blaze.

Elsay says crews are making good progress in controlling the fire, but fast-moving winds remain the biggest challenge.

“The cooler weather today has been helpful, but the winds that have come with it are something we are keeping an eye on.”

(Photo- Bart Fonteyne, Facebook)
(Photo- Bart Fonteyne, Facebook)

READ MORE: Keremeos Creek wildfire sees significant growth, evacuation orders still in effect

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About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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