A haze of smoke settles over Okanagan Lake Tuesday from the Bear Creek Provincial Park forest fire.

A haze of smoke settles over Okanagan Lake Tuesday from the Bear Creek Provincial Park forest fire.

Homes evacuated near Bear Creek forest fire

Forest fire in Bear Creek Provincial Park forces evacuation of 550 people

A forest fire in the Bear Creek Provincial Park area, adjacent to Westside Road, has forced the evacuation of 106 homes and 550 people in Traders Cove, Bear Creek Service Road and Bear Creek Provincial Park areas.

Westside Road is currently closed from Sailview Bay in the south to Bear Main Forest Service Road in the north.

As of press time, the interface fire, which was reported Monday at 10 p.m., was about 38 hectares in size.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Dale Bojahra with the B.C. Forest Service said flames came within 400 metres of homes but no buildings had been reported as lost.

Swirling winds Monday night and early Tuesday morning provided challenges for the 40 firefighters battling the blaze, said Bojahra.

In addition to ground crews, the forest service was also using helicopters with water buckets to battle the fire. The forestry crews are also being aided by West Kelowna firefighters and volunteers firefighters from Wilson’s Landing.

While approximately 30 per cent of the fire has been contained—because of the natural firebreak created by Westside Road—the fire from an overall perspective is still well away from being fully contained and is proving difficult to fight in some of the more remote sections, said Bojahra.

 

Meanwhile, only about 65 of the estimated 550 evacuees have registered at the emergency support services centre set up in the Lions Community Hall in West Kelowna.