Anxious night as Penticton's Mount Christie wildfire grows to over 1,000 ha, spreads south | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Anxious night as Penticton's Mount Christie wildfire grows to over 1,000 ha, spreads south

The Mount Christie wildfire burning above Heritage Hills this morning, Aug.19, 2020.
August 19, 2020 - 5:51 AM

Emergency crews worked into the night as the community of Heritage Hills along the east side of Skaha Lake was evacuated due to the Mount Christie wildfire south of Penticton.

A part of southern Penticton was also subject to an evacuation alert, issued around 9:30 p.m. yesterday.

The wildfire, first reported around 2 p.m. yesterday, Aug.18, was last reported at 1,000 ha last night, but as night fell the fire’s continued spread was obvious.

The Mount Christie wildfire began spreading south into Heritage Hills subdivision last night,.
The Mount Christie wildfire began spreading south into Heritage Hills subdivision last night,.

Strong, gusty evening winds took the fire in several directions, most ominously to the south where it moved down the gulley it started in and burned into the top of the Heritage Hills subdivision last night before winds eased early this morning.

A smoke plume spilling thousands of metres into the sky stopped traffic on Highway 97 as darkness fell.

Smoke from the Mount Christie wildfire billows high into the sky last night, Aug. 18, 2020.
Smoke from the Mount Christie wildfire billows high into the sky last night, Aug. 18, 2020.

At dusk last night the fire was within a few hundred metres of the northernmost residences in the Heritage Hills subdivision. The fire's greatest advance appeared to be south, along the top of Heritage Hills.

The Mount Christie wildfire began creeping down a gully towards the Heritage HIlls subdivision south of Penticton yesterday, Aug. 18, 2020.
The Mount Christie wildfire began creeping down a gully towards the Heritage HIlls subdivision south of Penticton yesterday, Aug. 18, 2020.

B.C. Wildfire appeared to throw every available aircraft at the fire, engaging air tankers and amphibious aircraft until early evening when helicopters took their place.

The skies were crowded above Skaha Lake late yesterday, Aug. 18, 2020.
The skies were crowded above Skaha Lake late yesterday, Aug. 18, 2020.

The City of Penticton activated its emergency operations centre as a proactive measure in response to the fire around 8 p.m. yesterday evening.

The fire does not appear to have made  much advance to the north towards Penticton overnight.

It’s not known how the fire started. Skies were mostly clear in the area yesterday afternoon.

Fire glows within smoke above the Mount Christie wildfire yesterday, Aug. 18, 2020.
Fire glows within smoke above the Mount Christie wildfire yesterday, Aug. 18, 2020.

Amphibious aircraft work the Mount Christie wildfire.
Amphibious aircraft work the Mount Christie wildfire.

The Christie Mountain fire from Skaha Hills.
The Christie Mountain fire from Skaha Hills.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Diane Monteith

The Christie Mountain wildfire around 8:30 p.m. Aug. 18, 2020.
The Christie Mountain wildfire around 8:30 p.m. Aug. 18, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Darbee Peragine

We invite our readers to share their photos of the fire by sending them to news@infonews.ca

Reader Shawna Burghall provided this photo of the Mount Christie wildfire.
Reader Shawna Burghall provided this photo of the Mount Christie wildfire.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Shawna Burghall

Reader Linda Goff provided this photo of the Mount Christie wildfire.
Reader Linda Goff provided this photo of the Mount Christie wildfire.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Linda Goff

Another image of the Mount Christie wildfire by Linda Goff.
Another image of the Mount Christie wildfire by Linda Goff.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Linda Goff

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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