Update: 5:35 pm
Highway 97 is now open to single lane alternating traffic with RCMP escort between Peachland and Summerland.
Drive BC says motorists should expect heavy delays.
Alternate route via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3.
The next update is at 7 pm.
Update 4:44 pm:
West Kelowna RCMP say they are assisting government agencies with the emergency closure of Highway 97 through Peachland due to a wildfire burning in the area.
RCMP were called to assist the BC Wildfire Service with the immediate closure of Highway 97 near Brent Road at 3:30, in the vicinity of Antlers Beach in Peachland. The closure was necessary for the safety of the public due to a wildfire burning towards the highway.
Additional RCMP officers, from the South Okanagan, have also closed Highway 97 south of Peachland.
RCMP are urging motorists to use alternate routes, via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3. RCMP would also like to urge the general public to avoid the area for their own safety, and well-being, as well as the safety and well-being of emergency personnel operating in the area.
RCMP are also reminding the public that they must stay clear of firefighting aircraft that are collecting water from our lakes in the region, including Okanagan Lake.
Drive BC says the highway remains closed with the next update at 7 pm.
The alternate route is via Highways 97C, 5A and 3.
Highway 97 is closed in both directions between Summerland and Peachland because of wildfire.
Drive BC says the estimated time of opening is unknown, with another update at 4:30 pm
Last night’s storm caused at least 13 new fires in the Okanagan.
There are three fires burning in the Peachland area, four in the West Kelowna area, two in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park, and one just outside the park boundary.
There is a chance of more thunderstorms tonight.
Photo: Peachland wildfire (Power 104)