Apex Mountain Village under evacuation order

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A growing wildfire near a British Columbia mountain resort prompted an evacuation order for the village on Monday morning.

Burning southwest of Penticton, the Keremeos Creek wildfire was measured at 437 hectares Sunday evening. It’s classified as out of control.

While 25 properties were placed under evacuation orders over the weekend, an order for hundreds more was issued on Monday, this time in Apex Mountain Village. Those in the area are being told they must leave immediately and expect the RCMP to help expedite the process.

“There are crews working in the area, so while there may not necessarily be immediate danger to these homes, such as in the event of a fire outside the building, it may be because There are fire crews in this area doing important and dangerous work. So having people in the area is not ideal,” said Erick Thompson, Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District Information Officer.

An evacuation order was also announced Monday by the Lower Similkameen Indian Band for some properties around Green Mountain Road.

An evacuation center has been set up at Princess Margaret High School at 120 Green Ave. in Penticton.

Thompson is urging anyone with property under evacuation orders or on alert to register with the province even if they don’t need immediate help.

“If you sign up, you have access to the services and that can really help identify who is in the area and who is not,” he said. “There are a number of owners who are not present and if they are in another part of the province, or in another province, it can really help identify who needs services.

Nearly 250 properties are under the new evacuation order and another 110 properties are under evacuation alert. Thompson says now is the time for these people to prepare.

“Having a kit to take with you is really important. So anyone on an evacuation alert should take those steps in advance,” Thompson said.

“During an evacuation order where people have to leave immediately, they should not take boats and trailers. This can block the escape route. It is important for people to keep this in mind. During an evacuation alert, it’s time to move these important elements.

The fire was discovered on Friday and officials say it has been difficult to fight because much of the blaze “is on ground unusable for tanker and heavy machinery support”.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, 144 people are now assigned to the fire with more expected to join the fight in the coming days.

“We are really bringing the resources we need to attack this fire as aggressively as possible,” said Bryan Zandberg, fire information manager. “There is a heat warning in place and we are concerned about the heat exhaustion of our crews and just being in this type of difficult terrain and difficult weather conditions. However, we have plans for it.

Nine helicopters are also being used to drop water on the fire, which Zandberg said is burning on steep rocky terrain that is difficult to access with crews and equipment on the ground.

He said weather conditions were favorable in the morning but changed in the afternoon with stronger winds supplying the fire with oxygen.

“We had rank four and five fire behavior yesterday, so it’s a very vigorous fire,” Zandberg said. “You see trees shimmering, you see a bit of an organized flame front. It is especially in this inaccessible terrain.

Local fire departments, including Keremeos, Naramata and Summerland, all sent crews and trucks to focus on protecting structures. At least one structure has been destroyed.

Over the weekend, Apex Mountain Resort deployed its snow cannons to spray water on its buildings and infrastructure to prevent them from catching fire from wind-blown embers.

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