Picture-Snowy Mountain Fire www.rdosmaps.bc.ca
Update 4 pm
The wildfire situation in BC has taken off since last night’s lightning storm.
There are now over 300 fires burning in BC, including over 100 new ones.
Some backcountry lodges in two BC parks have been closed due to the threat of wildfires.
Fires in the North Okanagan area include one on the Harris Creek forest service road south of Lumby listed at 8 hectares.
There are a couple east of Lumby, the largest which is 2 hectares on Proctor Road.
There is also some spot sized fires in the Mabel Lake area east of Enderby.
The BC Wildfire Service is dealing with several small fires started by lightning last night in the North Okanagan – Shuswap.
Spokesperson Brenna Ward says the system ran from the Pennask Summit on the Okanagan Connector to Revelstoke.
Lightning started fires in the Salmon Arm, Mara Lake and Sicamous area, including one on Mount Bastion where a rappel crew of 3 or 4 firefighters was sent in.
They were assisted by a helicopter dropping water until about 9 o’clock.
There were also a couple of fires in the Cherryville area.
Meanwhile, the largest fire in the province, the Snowy Mountain Fire has doubled in size to an estimated 6,125 hectares.
It’s in the Snowy Mountain Protected Area about 14 kilometres south of Keremeos.
An evacuation alert is up for residents of Cawston and Keremeos because of the growing fire.
The BC Wildfire Service is warning of the potential of burning embers to float several kilometres, sparking fires along the valley bottom.
Ash and thick smoke is already visible in the Similkameen due to wildfires in the area.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Operations Centre is expanding a precautionary Evacuation Alert to 481 additional properties.
This precautionary Evacuation Alert includes all homes south and west of Highway 3 from 1143 Highway 3, south of Cawston, to the Fast Gas Plus service station at 3163 Highway 3, west of Keremeos.
This includes selected homes within Electoral Area “B”, Electoral Area “G” and the Village of Keremeos.
The Lower Similkameen Indian Band is also issuing Evacuation Alerts for their band members and residents.
Fire behaviour was extremely active on Tuesday, and was burning Rank 5 in some areas.
The fire behaviour was wind driven, with sustained 30 km/hr and gusts up to 50 km/hr coming out of the south.
Significant growth occurred on the east and north sides of the fire.
Crews worked to construct a handguard north of Susap Creek to tie into an existing guard to the south of the creek.
A machine guard is also being established to the east of the handguard.
But the Wildfire service lists the fire as zero per cent contained.
Ther Wildfire Service has 43 firefighters backed by three helicopters and three pieces of heavy equipment working the fire.
Structural Protection Specialists are engaged on it to protect structures if necessary.
Members of the Keremeos Fire Department are also deployed.