UPDATE (11:19 p.m.):
Coldstream, Swan Lake and other areas have also been placed on alert by the Regional District of North Okanagan as the White Rock Lake wildfire grows to an estimated 55,000 hectares.
- Electoral Area B east of Okanagan Lake - surrounding Swan Lake
- Electoral Area C south of Spallumcheen, west of Forsberg Road (on Silver Star Road) to the southern boundary of Electoral Area C
- District of Coldstream from the north boundary to the south boundary, the area west of Coldstream Valley Estates and Grey Road
Winds gusting upwards of 40 km/h is challenging suppression efforts, BC Wildfire Services said in a Friday night update.
Structure protection personnel have a roving patrol along Westside Road and in the Swan Lake area where firefighters are ready to defend from potential spot fires.
Sustained winds are expected to continue overnight.
Now, evacuation orders and alerts are in place in 10 municipal jurisdictions and the entire Okanagan Indian Band IR#1.
UPDATE (10:50 p.m.):
The remaining properties within the City of Vernon boundaries are now on evacuation alert as a precautionary measure, based on the advice of BC Wildfire Services.
This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to increased fire activity and ember debris, the City of Vernon said in a statement issued before 11 p.m. Friday night.
The extended evacuation alert excludes:
- Predator Ridge and Sparkling Hill neighbourhoods
- Okanagan Landing South neighbourhoods (areas of Eastside Road, The Outback, Ellison Provincial Park Inkster, Delcliffe, Whitepoint, Smith Road, Peters Road, Kokanee/Sunset properties, Harbour Heights, Beverly Hills Estates)
- Commonage Area, south of Bench Row Road
UPDATE (7:45 p.m.):
The Township of Spallumcheen and the City of Armstrong have each issued evacuation alerts for their communities, based on advice from BC Wildfire.
“Due to the aggressive behaviour of the White Rock Lake Wildfire the entire Township of Spallumcheen and City of Armstrong need to prepare for the possibility of an Evacuation,” said the Township of Spallumcheen in a 7 p.m. release.
Residents from both communities are asked to prepare for potential evacuation.
DriveBC is also reporting that an 80 km stretch on Highway 97 just north of Vernon is now closed between Monte Creek and Pleasant Valley Road, which is located right outside of Vernon’s city limits.
ORIGINAL (4:20 p.m.):
Residences northeast of Okanagan Lake in Vernon are now on evacuation alert as the White Rock Lake wildfire continues to show aggressive fire behaviour.
This includes residents in the Canadian Lake View Estates, Adventure Bay, Tronson Road, Rise, Turtle Mountain and Blue Jay communities to be on heightened alert and prepare for the possibility of evacuation.
Residents in the areas on alert should prepare for an immediate evacuation if an order is issued.
The fire is currently estimated at 45,000 hectares, BC Wildfire Services said, and growth has predominantly occurred along the northeastern and eastern flanks over the past 24 hours.
“Large fires like the White Rock Lake wildfire often create their own weather patterns. Sometimes with that comes an increase in debris being cast across a significant distance. Sometimes that debris can be large enough and hot enough to create an ember fire,” Vernon Fire Rescue Services Chief David Lind said.
BC Wildfire Service and the City of Vernon will continue to monitor the fire and are keeping a close eye on potential ember fires in the areas identified, with a specific focus on Tronson Road, Adventure Bay and Canadian Lake View Estates, as the forecast calls for winds of up to 40 km/h overnight.
“We ask that all residents maintain a heightened awareness of the evolving situation over the next 24 hours,” Lind said. “Watch for spot fire caused by embers—and should be prepared in advance for a potential evacuation order.”
To report a fire within the municipal boundary, call 911 immediately. To report a wildfire, call the BC Wildfire Service at 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.