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UPDATE: Hwy 33 remains closed

Firefighters remained on scene of the Joe Rich wildfire outside of Kelowna
Photos of aircraft fighting the Joe Rich fire on Aug. 25. Image credit: Ethan Delichte from Prime Light Media

UPDATE: 1:08 p.m.

At this time, crews are assessing the evacuation order area for the Joe Rich wildfire and it will be adjusted only when it is safe to do so, according to a Central Okanagan Emergency Operations release.

An estimated 1,100 people are currently out of their homes. Visit CORD’s website for an interactive map of the evacuation order area and to sign up for emergency e-updates.

Residents are reminded to respect roadblocks and closures, and exercise caution when driving, especially in areas where people are working or stationed close to the road. Entering areas under evacuation order is not permitted and puts the public and crews at risk, said the release.

Highway 33 is still closed as a result of this wildfire. Visit DriveBC for updates on road closures. Those who decide to use the detour route via McCulloch Road should use extreme caution and drive no more than 35 kilometres an hour as this is not a regularly maintained route and is only recommended for non-commercial, passenger vehicles, said the release.

UPDATE: 12:23 p.m.

The fire remains out of control, but there has been no significant spread of flames, according to fire information officer Navi Saini.

There has been no reports of structures affected by the fire. Four helicopters, 70 firefighters and 12 pieces of machinery remain on scene, she said.

Power has been restored to nearly 2,000 customers, according to FortisBC.

Around 47 customers remain.

UPDATE: 9:30 a.m.

The Joe Rich wildfire is currently 465 hectares in size and is considered to be out of control, said fire information officer Justine Hunse.

Air tankers were not able to attack the fire yesterday due to smoky conditions, but the smoke was clearing yesterday evening, said Hunse.

There are currently 52 BC wildfire service firefighters fighting the blaze and machine guards have been established on the east and west flanks of the fire, she said.

Firefighters will continue working to establish guard on the north end of the fire today. With the expected weather conditions, “we’re expecting the fire activity to remain moderate,” said Hunse.

The next update will be around 12 p.m.


Structural firefighters continued to work overnight to protect buildings and properties from the Philpott Road wildfire. So far, there haven’t been any reports of damage.

Twenty-five firefighters with seven trucks from several departments across the Central and South Okanagan will be protecting buildings, snuffing out fires and hotspots and monitoring the blaze throughout the Joe Rich area, east of Kelowna.

Due to the ongoing active nature of the fire, the evacuation order remains in effect. The status of the order will be assessed again this morning and will only be adjusted when it is safe. An estimated 1,100 people are out of their homes for a second night, according to a Central Okanagan Emergency Operations release.

BC Wildfire crews and equipment were also on the ground overnight fighting the fire and monitoring conditions.

Since opening the Emergency Support Services reception centre yesterday at Willow Park Church (439 Highway 33 West), volunteers have registered 572 evacuees.

Those affected by the evacuation order will be able to visit the reception centre again tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to 5.

The next scheduled update from the Emergency Operations Centre is anticipated after 12 p.m. Saturday.