Wildfire near Coldstream closes Highway 97; Homes on Clerke Road evacuated

Crews from local fire departments and B.C. Wildfire Services are battling a large wildland fire near Coldstream that broke out Friday night off Highway 97 south of Vernon. Residents of Clerke Road and Commonage Road between Bailey Road and Allen Brooks Way were put on evacuation alert by RCMP. (Gavin Phillips photo/@ItsGavP)Crews from local fire departments and B.C. Wildfire Services are battling a large wildland fire near Coldstream that broke out Friday night off Highway 97 south of Vernon. Residents of Clerke Road and Commonage Road between Bailey Road and Allen Brooks Way were put on evacuation alert by RCMP. (Gavin Phillips photo/@ItsGavP)
A fire burns on a hillside off Highway 97 near Coldstream on Friday, July 9. (Pamela Pereira Marcelino/Facebook)A fire burns on a hillside off Highway 97 near Coldstream on Friday, July 9. (Pamela Pereira Marcelino/Facebook)
(Pamela Pereira Marcelino/Facebook)(Pamela Pereira Marcelino/Facebook)
(Pamela Pereira Marcelino/Facebook)(Pamela Pereira Marcelino/Facebook)
(Jared Johnson/Facebook)(Jared Johnson/Facebook)
(Kyle Gillett/Facebook)(Kyle Gillett/Facebook)

UPDATE: 1 a.m. Saturday, July 10

A tactical evacuation is currently underway for residences along Coldstream’s Clerke Road due to a large wildland fire.

RCMP officers have also gone door-to-door and placed residences on evacuation alert on Commonage Road, between Allan Brooks Way and Bailey Road.

The fire is currently listed as out of control.

Highway 97 is reduced to single lane alternating traffic but motorists are being asked to avoid the area.

The District of Coldstream has activated its Emergency Operations Centre. Residents of Clerke Road are under tactical evacuation due to the wildfire. Affected residents can go to the Emergency Support Services Centre at the District of Coldstream Municipal Hall 9901 Kalamalka Road.

The City of Vernon has also activated its Emergency Operations Centre and is actively gathering information and resources to assist the fire response.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A wildfire burning on a hill south of Vernon near Highway 97 is threatening homes.

The fire, which sparked sometime Friday evening (July 9), has closed the highway in both directions at College Way near Coldstream, according to Drive BC. Traffic is being detoured via Commonage Road.

Kalview Trailer Park resident Keli Westgate wasn’t waiting for any official evacuation order. The park is on Clerke Road.

“There’s three of us and we’re safe and sound with family,” said Westgate at 11:35 p.m. Friday. The family was enjoying a quiet evening at home when their phone rang around 10 p.m.

“We had no idea (about the fire),” she said. “A friend phoned and asked ‘Are you OK?’ That’s when I looked out the window and saw the fire. Our car was already packed.”

City of Vernon communications manager Christy Poirier said at 12:10 a.m., Saturday, July 10, Vernon Fire Rescue is responding to the large wildland fire in conjunction with multiple regional fire departments and BC Wildfire Service.

RCMP and BC Ambulance Service are also on scene. The RCMP is currently tactically evacuating homes along Clerke Road, which is in the District of Coldstream.

District chief administrative officer Trevor Seibel said the municipality is currently working on setting up an emergency services centre.

Coldstream is joined by the City of Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan in assisting with the fire.

Large crowds gathered along Middleton Way, Kalamalka Road and Okanagan College to watch the blaze.

More to come.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
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