August 22, 2015 - 2:56 PM
OLIVER – The Testalinden Creek fire has grown to over 3.1 square kilometres and will likely be getting even bigger over the next few days.
B.C. Wildfire says the extremely dry conditions and the forecast gusty southerly winds mean increased fire activity.
The fire, which has been growing in a northerly direction, blew through containment lines on the north side of the perimeter Thursday, Aug. 20, when a cold front produced brisk winds, according to a media release.
“The fire has spilled over onto the steep south slopes of Hester Creek, however the fire perimeter remains 50 per cent contained,” fire information officer Heather Rice says in the release. “The north and west flanks continue to be the most active and are therefore top priorities for fire crews.”
There over 160 firefighters, 12 helicopters and 20 pieces of heavy equipment working to build fire guards and protect homes, farms, vineyards and wineries.
The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District has expanded the evacuation alert area for the second time in two days.
People living south of Road 7 and Tinhorn Creek road to the west of Highway 97 south of Oliver are now part of the alert area and must be ready to leave on a moments notice, a media releases says.
A total of 183 homes and properties are now under the evacuation alert.
Rice says the forecast southerly winds could result in further fire growth, but could also push smoke into the valley from the huge fires burning in Washington State.
“If this happens, air operations on the Testalinden Creek wildfires could be restricted for safety concerns,” she says.
A Conair Fire Boss skimmer is filling up its water tanks on Osoyoos Lake before returning to fight the Testalinden Creek fire, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015.
Image Credit: Contributed/Drew Desharnais Photography
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015