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Drivers warned not to stop on highway to view Penticton wildfire

Motorists travelling Highway 97 south of Kaleden are being warned not to stop for the next 6 km after two days of drivers pulling over to watch the Christie Mountain wildfire.
August 21, 2020 - 7:30 AM

Apparently, boaters aren’t the only drivers who need to take care around wildfire fighting operations.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure erected signage on Highway 97 south of Penticton yesterday, Aug.20, warning motorists not to stop to take photos of the Christie Mountain wildfire on the highway for six kilometres south of the city.

Ministry of Transportation media spokesperson Danielle Pope says the sign was placed to discourage people from creating unsafe situations by parking along the highway to take photos.

"Our maintenance contractor and ministry area managers have been driving through the area and noticed such behaviours in the last few days. The public is asked to obey all signs and check with Drive B.C. for updates," Pope said in an email.

The warning comes two days after the Christie Mountain wildfire ignited on the east side of Skaha Lake.

The wildfire has become a roadside attraction, with dozens of motorists stopping to take in the view.

The safe way to sightsee: firewatchers pull right off the highway at the former tourist stand on Highway 97 south of Penticton.
The safe way to sightsee: firewatchers pull right off the highway at the former tourist stand on Highway 97 south of Penticton.

Highway 97 between Penticton and Okanagan Falls was the scene of two collisions yesterday, Aug. 19, one involving a semi-trailer spilling a load of lumber on Waterman’s Hill, and another near Larch Avenue in Kaleden, according to 911 dispatch records.

Boaters on Skaha Lake have been repeatedly warned over the past couple of days to stay well clear of firefighting operations and aircraft using the lake.

This is a view of the Christie Mountain wildfire today from Highway 97. No need to stop now.
This is a view of the Christie Mountain wildfire today from Highway 97. No need to stop now.

The old tourist stand parking lot on Highway 97 is usually empty.
The old tourist stand parking lot on Highway 97 is usually empty.

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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