UPDATE: Aggressive fire near Coquihalla toll booth prompts evacuation alert

A rank five fire burns near Murray Lake, just northwest of the Coquihalla Summit Tuesday afternoon.
Image Credit: B.C. Wildfire

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - An evacuation alert has been issued and B.C. Wildfire is keeping crews off of a fire three kilometres west of the old toll booth along the Coquihalla Highway because it's just too dangerous.

“It’s displaying aggressive behaviour, a rank five. It has an organized flame front and is spreading quickly,” Fire Information Officer Melissa Klassen says. “It’s currently too dangerous.”

The fire, southwest of Murray Lake, is believed to be lightning-caused and is now estimated at 80 hectares, up from 30 ha Tuesday afternoon.

Initial attack crews attended the scene earlier in the afternoon, along with air tankers and a helicopter, but the resources have all been removed.

There are structures about five kilometres away but they are not under immediate threat. An evacuation alert was issued just after 6 p.m. for 30-35 properties. People are asked to make sure they are ready to evacuate on short notice, which means gathering family, pets, medications and other any other personal items of importance.

B.C. Wildfire crews were also offering air support to a fire in West Kelowna Tuesday afternoon.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

— This story was updated at 6:33 p.m., July 15 to add the evacuation alert.

— This story was updated at 10:27 a.m., July 16 with additional details.

Image Credit: Thompson Nicola Regional District

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