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Aggressive wildfire prompts evacuation orders near Penticton

The RDOS issued the evacuation order at 9:30 p.m. Friday night

UPDATE: 3 p.m.

One structure has been lost due to the Keremeos Creek wildfire near the community of Apex.

Deemed aggressive, crews say they are witnessing “erratic fire behaviour” and anticipate the size of the blaze to grow between 200 and 300 hectares.

An evacuation order remains in effect for 21 properties, with an additional 20-unit person crew and an incident management team currently on route, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen’s EOC team confirmed in a Saturday update that one structure has been lost due to the fire.

“It could possibly be an old cabin or older building, it’s tough to tell, but we can certainly confirm there has been a structure lost,” RDOS’ EOC team told media during the update.

Overnight, the wildfire jumped the Green Mountain Road to the east.

“We are witnessing some pretty erratic fire behaviour due to shifting winds,” said Kaitlin Baskerville from the Kamloops Fire Centre. “We’re now planning to anticipate some growth that could go east, west, north, south.”

As of 3 p.m., there are 18 BC Wildfire Service personnel, four helicopters, structure protection personnel and multiple fire department apparatus on site.

Baskerville says the cause of the fire is currently unknown.

The incident management team has been deployed, is en route and will be taking command of the fire Sunday morning.

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ORIGINAL

The Keremeos Creek wildfire near the community of Apex has grown to an estimated 150 hectares.

According to BCWS, the fire is unable to be reached by either heavy machinery or air tankers because of the terrain making it inoperable.

Air tankers are currently on standby, according to information officer Melanie Bibeau, who says crews will be able to use them as a resource if the fire moves to an area where the terrain is accessible.

The wildfire was first reported in the afternoon, with BC Wildfire Service crews on the fire for several hours by 7:30 p.m., according to fire information officer Aydan Coray.

Two helicopters and 10 ground personnel were on scene, with additional reinforcements including structural protection crews en route.

The fire is located near Keremeos creek and the Keremeos Forestry Service Road, around 10 kilometres southeast of Apex Mountain, and 21 kilometres from Penticton.

The Apex Resort’s own webcams currently show the fire in the distance, and the plume of smoke is visible from Penticton and other nearby communities.

READ MORE: Penticton bans campfires

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

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