Unpredictable wildfire behaviour in British Columbia’s southern Okanagan has forced the evacuation of the entire community of Olalla and an evacuation alert for the village of Keremeos, just a few kilometres to the south.
The orders and alerts were issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen as the 42-square kilometre wildfire flared in what fire information officer Bryan Zandberg says is a “problematic corner” of the blaze.
Winds have been pushing flames downhill toward the communities and the flare up has also forced the closure of Highway 3A, which passes through Olalla and Keremeos.
Zandberg says nearly 400 firefighters are working on the blaze, including additional crews assigned late Thursday who will work to protect threatened properties.
The blaze is one of 146 which the BC Wildfire Service says were reported over the past week, although new fire starts have dipped in the last two days due to slightly cooler, calmer conditions.
Environment Canada is forecasting a return to temperatures in the 30s this week and gusty winds could complicate firefighting efforts, but there’s no sign of the lightning storms that have kindled many recent wildfires.