The Nk’Mip Creek wildfire has damaged a home in the Shrike Hill area, though the extent of the damage is currently unknown.
The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen confirmed the damage to a house and a camper during a news conference on the blaze on Friday, July 23.
Additional reinforcements will be arriving at the firefight this weekend.
Close to 100 Mexican firefighters, who have already arrived in Canada, will be deployed to Oliver and Osoyoos on Sunday, according to B.C. Wildfire Service information officer Dani McIntosh.
Conditions on Friday were finally clear enough to allow for a more accurate estimate of the fire’s size, now considered around 6,800 hectares.
That growth was largely towards McKinney Road in the north, and to the south according to McIntosh, with early morning winds turning to gusts by the afternoon.
“That combined with the hot temperatures is causing the fire to become quite active later in the day rather than the morning,” she said.
Evacuations finding support from across the South Okanagan and Boundary
The Penticton Indian Band’s (PIB) emergency services came online on Thursday night to make preparations for evacuees from the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB).
Two families from the OIB made their way out to the PIB reception centre at the Community Hall and were provided with accommodations, according to PIB Chief Greg Gabriel.
The City of Penticton provided 50 cots to the PIB for evacuees to sleep on when they arrive.
“First I want to extend our heartfelt thanks and praise to all the firefighters on the frontlines, and all the other emergency services responders,” said Gabriel. “It just goes to show how our communities can come together in the event of emergencies to support one another.”
The other two emergency reception centres are the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 97, 36217 Main Street, Oliver for RDOS residents, and for residents in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, the reception centre is located at the Boundary Expo Recreation Centre at 734 7th Avenue in Midway.
The Oliver Legion has seen 540 people register so far, with 383 currently being supported. In the RDKB there have been 14 people register so far.
The RDOS’ emergency services are also being supported by the City of Penticton and the Towns of Osoyoos and Oliver’s emergency support services.
Keeping highways, water and electricity open top priority for B.C. Wildfire
Keeping highways open, which are also evacuation corridors, is a priority according to Dennis Rexin, the incident commander with B.C. Wildfire Service.
“Those are a priority, as are critical watersheds and protecting power transmission and infrastructure,” said Rexin.
All of the roads that exit off Highway 3 east of Osoyoos are being blockaded and patrolled by the RCMP who are keeping an eye on the evacuated areas.
B.C. Wildfire does have several triggers they have identified that would result in an evacuation alert and closure of the highway, which would be done in coordination
There has been some damage to power lines in the area, and BC Wildfire is working with FortisBC to restore any loss of power.
FortisBC has two crews on-site monitoring their main power line, which provides electricity to Oliver and Osoyoos. Osoyoos residents are still being asked to reduce power usage between 4 and 8 p.m.
The Thomas Creek Fire is still under several evacuation alerts, with the hopes of drawing those down as B.C. Wildfire establishes control over the fire’s perimeter. The focus from firefighters has been on the western slopes closest to occupied areas.
The evacuation orders and alerts for the Brenda Creek fire are also currently remaining. The focus there is on the critical infrastructure in the area, including the Highway 97C corridor, the Wooden Bowl transmission line and the watershed for residents of Peachland.
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