B.C. wildfire update Thursday: Windy, changing conditions force more orders and alerts

The Nk'Mip fire continued to threaten homes and businesses in the South Okanagan, Thursday, burning near the towns of Oliver and Osooyoos. Still, businesses that rely on tourist dollars are doing everything they can to maintain operations. Paul Johnson reports.

Some strong winds and wildfire flare-ups are causing more evacuation orders and alerts across B.C. Thursday.

There are currently 272 blazes burning in the province.

While the north section of the province has seen some cooler temperatures, the southern part of the province has remained hot, dry and windy with no relief in sight, Ian Meier, executive director of the BC Wildfire Service said Thursday afternoon.

While there is a provincial state of emergency in place, there are also 25 states of local emergency.

There are 50 evacuation orders in place, meaning about 4,300 properties and 79 evacuation alerts, meaning about 18,000 properties.

Eighteen reception centres have been set up across the province to receive wildfire evacuees.

For anyone wanting to donate to the wildfire-fighting efforts, the Wildfire Service is asking everyone to donate to the Red Cross Wildfire Relief Fund.

Read more:

B.C. wildfire map 2021: Location and size of the fires burning around the province

There is a lot of concern in the Kootenay region, the Southeast Fire Centre, which saw more evacuations overnight Wednesday and Thursday.

The remote village of Edgewood east of Kelowna saw more than 350 properties evacuated, with fires burning on both sides of Lower Arrow Lake.

This is in addition to the 168 homes evacuated in the region on Tuesday.

The owners of an ostrich farm in Edgewood cannot leave their property and are doing everything they can to save all the animals.

Read more:

The fight to save 500 ostriches on a B.C. farm surrounded by wildfires

“We have three pumps going. We have fire hose for 1,000 feet, we’ve been wetting the insides of our barns down, we’re wetting every single thing, the birds down every day,” owner Karen Espersen told Global News.

GoFundMe has been set up to help the ostriches and the other livestock currently living at the farm.

Just to the east of Edgewood, more evacuations were ordered Wednesday around the Trozzo Creek wildfire, south of Slocan.

It is an estimated 2,635 hectares in size.

There were 174 properties ordered to evacuate from the area on Wednesday and officials remain concerned about more than 150 properties in the area around Highway 6, below Ring Rose Creek, south to Christian Creek.

The Hunakwa fire, burning near Seymour Arm northwest of Revelstoke forced the evacuation order for a portion of the community Thursday morning.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District at the Shuswap Emergency Program’s Emergency Operations Centre ordered an evacuation order for all residences within the community of Seymour Arm that are in the neighbourhood of Tranquility Bay and all properties east of Seymour Arm Bay Road and Seymour River Road at Bughouse Bay, including Tipman Road and Bradley Road and the boat-in only properties.

Read more:

Evacuation order issued for part of Seymour Arm due to nearby wildfire

Near Osoyoos, the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire continues to be a challenge for fire crews.

The unpredictable winds fanned the flames down the mountainside.

The 2,000-hectare blaze licked the doorsteps of homes on a hillside vacation rental subdivision called The Residences at Spirit Ridge, perched above the resort on the southernmost edge of the Okanagan Valley.

Firefighters said the flames came right down to the driveways.

The Lytton Creek wildfire continues to challenge crews as well, seeing significant growth again due to the hot and windy conditions.

Read more:

Firefighters scramble to save homes as Nk’Mip Creek wildfire near Osoyoos, B.C. flares up

More of Lytton was destroyed by the wildfire last month, which is now estimated at more than 15,000 hectares in size.

On Thursday morning, the Thompson Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation order for 169 properties in the Spences Bridge area and an evacuation alert for 94 properties due to the wildfire.

Winds are an issue for firefighters battling the Tremont Creek wildfire near Ashcroft as well.

The B.C. Wildfire Service said crews have had to pull back multiple times over the past few days for safety reasons.

The blaze is an estimated 10,916 hectares in size.

There remain 39 wildfires of notes in the province, meaning they are highly visible or pose a threat to public safety.

A total of 3,123 firefighters and other personnel are currently fighting the fires including out-of-province and aerial support.

Meier said Thursday more firefighters are arriving in the next few days from Mexico and they are hoping to get some support from Australia soon.

BC RCMP added they have not received any reports of property crime related to wildfire evacuees and their officers on patrol are actually helping spot wildfire flare-ups and alerting the BC Wildfire Service.

Anyone travelling for recreational purposes in the province is being asked to check for changing conditions in an area where there is wildfire activity.

Reception centres for evacuees are already filling up and local motels and hotels may be needed for those who have fled their homes.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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