Over 200 properties in B.C. ski resort community ordered to evacuate as wildfire approaches

More than 200 properties in the B.C. Interior resort community of Apex Mountain Village have been ordered to evacuate as firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in the area.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) issued an evacuation order for the area on Monday morning because of the Keremeos Creek wildfire to the southwest of Penticton, B.C., in the province’s southern Interior. Dozens of other properties in Apex Mountain are on evacuation alert as well. 

The ski resort has been using its snowmaking machines to blast mist at buildings in an attempt to protect them from the blaze.

James Shalman, the resort’s general manager, said RCMP were going door to door with the evacuation order on Monday.

“Right now things are looking good, but you never know if the wind shifts and Mother Nature turns things sideways,” he said.

He estimated that “a couple hundred” people live in the village during the summer months.

The 4.4-square kilometre Keremeos Creek wildfire, about 21 kilometres south of Penticton, B.C., is seen in an aerial photograph on Sunday afternoon. (Submitted by B.C. Wildfire Service)

The fire, which was discovered on Friday, was last estimated at 4.4 square kilometres in size and is confirmed to have destroyed one structure so far.

The B.C. Wildfire Service said the fire became more aggressive on Sunday afternoon, particularly in the southwest corner, and a more accurate estimate for the size is expected sometime on Monday.

The cause of the wildfire is still under investigation, but it has already forced a number of other evacuation orders and alerts in the area.

RDOS information officer Erick Thompson reminded people under an evacuation alert to be ready leave at very short notice.

Thompson said people who have to leave their homes can register with the provincial Evacuee Registration and Assistance program for accommodation if they are unable to stay with family or friends.

Campfire ban for Kamloops Fire Centre

A second significant wildfire in the Interior, the Nohomin Creek fire to the northwest of Lytton, was holding steady at about 29 square kilometres on Monday morning.

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, conditions on the fire remained hot and dry on Sunday, but afternoon fire activity did not increase as much as it had on previous days.

The wildfire service also announced Monday that a campfire ban will soon be in place for the Kamloops Fire Centre, which covers both the Keremeos Creek and Nohomin Creek fires.

Starting Thursday at noon, all campfires, fireworks, sky lanterns, burn barrels, chimineas and tiki torches will be prohibited within the region. The restrictions will remain in place until Oct. 15.

A statement announcing the ban said the fire danger ratings throughout the fire centre are currently “high” or “extreme” because of hot and dry weather.

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