Bear Creek wildfire continues to burn

Westside Road closed from Fintry to Bear Creek Road because of the blaze

UPDATE 12:33 P.M. AUG. 22 – The Bear Creek wildfire is estimated at 25 hectares in size. Boaters on Okanagan Lake are asked to stay away from the fire area in and around Bear Creek to assist air support. Residents without power along Westside road are asked to conserve water.

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UPDATE 7:35 A.M. AUG. 22 – Cool overnight temperatures and low winds supported crews monitoring and patrolling the Bear Creek wildfire.

At this point no dwellings have been lost to the fire although some outbuildings (sheds) may be damaged.

Structural fire crews from West Kelowna, Peachland, Wilson’s Landing and firefighters from the B.C. Wildfire Service have spent the overnight hours putting out hot spots along the perimeter of the fire.

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A wildfire near the Bear Creek Provincial Park on the west side of Okanagan Lake sent campers fleeing in the dead of night Sunday.

Aided by strong gusting winds, the fire prompted the evacuation of the campground with little notice and as the flames spread, several other Westside areas were also evacuated.

Around 11:30 p.m., evacuation notices were posted for Traders Cove, the Bear Creek provincial campground, Bear Creek Road north of Parkinson Road intersection including Dougmac, Rose Valley and Petterson Roads.

Westside Road was closed between Bear Creek Road and Fintry and remains closed as of 6 a.m. Monday.

According to the Central Okanagan Emergency Services, about 60 people had registered with the emergency support reception centre in Westbank by 2 a.m.

The evacuation order affected about 156 properties and the popular campground, said the regional district.

Another 14 properties in the Pine Point subdivision off Westside Road, north of Traders Cove, remained on evacuation alert dung the night. Those residents were told to be prepared to leave on short notice should conditions change.

Structural fire crews from West Kelowna, Peachland, Wilson’s Landing, North Westside Fire Rescue and firefighters from the BC Wildfire Service fought the fire and were on scene over night.

Information is available at cordemergency.ca for the latest updates, including a map of the evacuation order and alert areas. Specific addresses can be searched to determine if the properties are on evacuation alert or order.

Because of darkness, air crews were unable to fight the flames last night but ground crews were battling the blaze.

Campers report panic in the campground as everyone tried to leave when word of the fire started to spread. The campground is one of the most popular in the province and is very busy in the summer months.

The strong winds, which gusted through the area at more than 50 kilometres per hour for much of the evening Sunday and fanned the flames of the Bear Creek fire, also caused several power outages across the Westside last night, with thousands of residents left in the dark.