August 15, 2015 - 11:46 AM
PENTICTON – The fight continues today to get a handle on the pair of wildfires burning near Oliver, which have forced hundreds out of their homes and destroyed a house.
The wildfires broke out yesterday, Aug. 14, and grew quickly thanks to high winds pushing the flames through grass, sage and open timber, forcing the evacuation of 360 homes, and threatening farms and wineries.
B.C. Wildfire says the Wilsons Mountain fire, burning about a kilometre north of Oliver, is about 200 hectares in size this morning, while the Testalinden Creek fire is now about 1,300 ha. Both fires are not contained.
One house was destroyed in the Kilpoola area, according to Emergency Operations Centre.
Wildfire Service crews worked closely with local fire departments to protect structures in the area and slow the fire’s spread, fire information officer Kayla Pepper says.
About 60 firefighters are working the blazes with support from three helicopters, she says. Lighter winds today are helping with fire fighting efforts.
The cause of both fires is under investigation.
Highway 3 was closed in both directions from Osoyoos to Keremeos for several hours due to the wildfires, but has since reopened, according to Drive B.C.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has opened an emergency operations centre to co-ordinate its response. Emergency Social Services has also been activated at the Oliver Community Centre to help deal with evacuees.
Click here for the very latest on the evacuation orders and alerts.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015