Wildfire near Bear Creek campground west of Kelowna forces evacuations

Campers and area residents are forced to flee in the dead of night as strong winds fan the flames.

Location of Bear Creek fire.

Update: Cool overnight temperatures and low winds supported crews fighting, monitoring and patrolling the Bear Creek wildfire.

According to Central Okanagan Emergency Services, at this point no dwellings have been lost to the fire although some outbuildings (sheds) may be damaged. Structural fire crews from West Kelowna, Peachland, Wilson’s Landing and firefighters from the BC Wildfire Service spent the overnight hours putting out hotspots along the perimeter of the fire.

As of 3 a.m. approximately 60 people had registered at the Emergency Support reception centre located in Westbank following evacuations of the cBear Creek campground and nearby residential areas. The centre will reopen at 9 a.m. to assist those forced from their homes by the wildfire.

The evacuation order remains in place and affects approximately 156 properties including the Bear Creek Provincial Park campground, Trader’s Cove subdivision, and properties along Bear Creek Road north of the Parkinson Road intersection including Dougmac, Rose Valley and Petterson Roads.

Another 14 properties in the Pine Point subdivision off Westside Road, north of Traders Cove remain on evacuation alert and those residents have been told they should be prepared to leave on short notice if conditions change.

Westside Road is closed between Bear Creek Road and Pine Point subdivision.

Boaters on Okanagan Lake are asked to stay away from the fire area in and around Bear Creek as air support may be used on this fire.

Visit cordemergency.ca for the latest updates including a map of the evacuation order and alert areas. Specific addresses can be searched to determine if the properties are on Evacuation Alert or Order.

Original story: A wildfire near the Bear Creek provincial campground on the west side of Okanagan Lake send campers fleeing in the dead of night Sunday.

Aided by strong gusting winds, the fire prompted the evacuation of the campground with little notice and as the flames spread, several other Westside areas, including parts of West Kelowna were also evacuated.

Around 11:30 p.m., evacuation notices were posted for Traders Cove, the Bear Creek provincial campground, Bear Creek Road north of Parkinson Road intersection including Dougmac, Rose Valley and Petterson Roads.

Westside Road was closed between Bear Creek Road and Lake Okanagan Resort.

According to the Central Okanagan Emergency Services, approximately 60 people had registered with the emergency support reception centre located at the Lions Hall, 2466 Main Street in Westbank by 2 a.m.

The evacuation order affected approximately 156 properties and the popular campground, said the regional district.

Another 14 properties in the Pine Point subdivision off Westside Road, north of Traders Cove remained on evacuation alert dung the night. Those residents were told to be prepared to leave on short notice should conditions change.

Structural fire crews from West Kelowna, Peachland, Wilson’s Landing, North Westside Fire Rescue and firefighters from the BC Wildfire Service fought the fire and were on scene over night.

Information is available at cordemergency.ca for the latest updates, including a map of the evacuation order and alert areas. Specific addresses can be searched to determine if the properties are on evacuation alert or order.

Because of darkness, air crews were unable to fight the flames last night but ground crews were battling the blaze.

Campers report panic in the campground as everyone tried to leave when word of the fire started to spread. The campground is one of the most popular in the province and is very busy in the summer months.

The strong winds, which gusted through the area at more than 50 kilometres per hour for much of the evening Sunday and fanned the flames of the Bear Creek fire, also caused several power outages across the Westside last night, with thousands of residents left in the dark.

According to B.C. Hydro, as of late Sunday, as may as 7,000 customers were without power, nearly half in Boucherie area of West Kelowna and another 1,500 in the Shannon Lake areaOutages were also reported in other areas of the Okanagan.