Strong winds sparked visible growth to a large McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna Thursday (Aug. 17), pushing the blaze over the crest across Lake Okanagan.
The blaze was visible across the waters through the evening.
Earlier in the day, Environment Canada forecast winds to reach 20 kilometres per hour. Winds are expected to remain gusty overnight until late Friday. As a cold front enters the Interior, “dry lightning” with little rain is likely, the weather agency said.
READ MORE: State of emergency declared in West Kelowna
Those who are on evacuation alert or live nearby the threatened area have been urged to prepare to leave at a moment’s notice.
Earlier Thursday, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations ordered the evacuation of close to a thousand homes, representing about 2,500 people, with thousands of other properties placed on alert and residents warned to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
“Tactical evacuation is already underway,” the operations centre said in a statement, adding that residents subject to the evacuation orders must leave immediately.
The BC Wildfire Service continues to respond to the McDougall Creek wildfire (K52767), located approximately 10 km northwest of West Kelowna. pic.twitter.com/itvgbUKKH2— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) August 18, 2023
West Kelowna pic.twitter.com/UpERmITWgQ— 1 Tall Cop (Constable Mike) (@610Mike) August 18, 2023
With files from The Canadian Press and Jacqueline Gelineau