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B.C. wildfires: Nearly 23,000 properties now on evacuation alert

Vancouver -

British Columbia saw a significant jump in wildfire evacuation alerts Monday, with 6,707 more properties being added to the list.

Blustery conditions over the weekend in the Central Okanagan fanned the flames of the massive White Rock Lake Fire.

It’s estimated to be 64,720 hectares and is classified as out of control.

A preliminary assessment through the area found that approximately 70 properties in the Ewings Landing and Killiney areas have sustained significant damage.

Emergency operations centre staff will contact affected property owners on Tuesday.

At least a dozen properties on the Osoyoos Indian Band Land were also damaged or destroyed.

"No matter how much information you provide, no matter what you do in that regard you're still having people that are displaced from their homes,” said Chief Byron Louis of Okanagan Indian Band.

The entire reserve, which is home to about 2,000 people, was forced to flee.

"One of the most common comments you hear from our members that are displaced is can't sleep," Louis said. "A lot of that is from anxiety, a lot of that is being away from their homes, but more importantly the potential for the loss of a home. For us, a lot of our members live and die in their homes, it's where we raised our kids."

Rick Manwaring, deputy forests minister, says the total number of destroyed properties hasn't been tracked on a provincial level.

In West Kelowna, the 800-hectare Mount Law fire is burning within the city limits.

An additional 20 properties in the Regional District of the Central Okanagan and Peachland were added to the evacuation alert area Monday night.

Several homes in the Glenrosa community were damaged, forcing over 1,000 people from their homes.

On evacuation order are 8,262 properties. Another 22,729 were on alert as of Tuesday morning. 

So far, 805,500 hectares have burned with about 260 active fires.

There are 3,600 personnel working right now, about 500 of those are from outside the province. Top Stories

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