At least 160 properties have been ordered to evacuate as an aggressive wildfire burns in the south Okanagan.
The Osoyoos Indian Band ordered the evacuation of more than 100 properties Monday because of the Inkaneep Creek wildfire on the band’s land, about six kilometres north of Osoyoos.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen says flames were moving rapidly north and it declared a local state of emergency Monday night and ordered the evacuation of 60 properties, followed by evacuation alerts for nearly 100 others and the entire town of Oliver.
The BC Wildfire Service website shows the blaze has already burned an estimated seven square kilometres and personnel worked through the night, reporting “aggressive fire behaviour.”
Separate fires in the southern Interior forced the Thompson-Nicola Regional District to order the evacuation of 28 properties near the community of Westwold on Monday and seven properties near Heffley Lake, the latest in a string of orders from the district.
The fires affecting the regional district are among nearly 300 burning across the province.
The orders came as the provincial organization that coordinates emergency support warned that available accommodation for thousands of wildfire evacuees was strained to the limit in the Thompson and Cariboo regions, and some evacuees were being sheltered as far south as Chilliwack.
Emergency Management B.C. has encouraged anyone who decided to leave their homes for larger communities due to smoky conditions to consider returning to make space for those facing a direct threat. Smoky conditions shift and move, so those who left their homes don’t necessarily reduce their exposure, it said in a statement Sunday.
Environment Canada has air quality statements in effect across Western Canada on Monday due to smoke from wildfires between British Columbia and Ontario.
With files to the Canadian Press.