Emergency officials have ordered all residents to evacuate the British Columbia community of Olalla, about 40 kilometers southwest of Penticton, due to the wildfire at Keremeos Creek.
The unincorporated city of more than 400 people was subject to a full evacuation Thursday afternoon, affecting about 200 homes, around 5:00 pm by the Okanagan-Similcamine Regional District.
Half an hour later, city and state officials announced the evacuation of residents of part of the village of Keremeos, British Columbia, representing almost 220 households.
“This afternoon, an approaching cold front brought in much stronger winds than we’ve seen in the past couple of days, which intensified the fire,” said Mikhail Elsay, a fire information officer with the British Columbia Fire Department. “We felt we needed to expand evacuation orders just to protect communities that are pretty close to the fire.”
The service reported Web site that downwind winds of over 30 km/h overnight shifted the fire down Highway 3A towards Olalla to the south, despite crews working all night to keep the blaze on the west side of the highway.
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The regional district, which had to evacuate residents from 547 homes this wildfire season, said drivers should look out for Highway 3A. be closed Thursday evening.
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The 43-square-kilometre Keremeos Creek Wildfire has not stopped for the past day.
Fire brigades attempted to contain it by starting a series of planned fires near Highway 3A over the course of a week.
As of Thursday evening, there were 62 wildfires in the province, with most of the 156 fires that broke out last week being extinguished.
Most of them are located in the Kamloops Fire Center area, which includes the Okanagan.
Just over half of the fires in the province are thought to have been caused by lightning.
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