Video shows wildfire burning terrifyingly close to B.C. highway
Published Thursday, July 19, 2018 7:45AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 19, 2018 7:17PM PDT
As firefighters battle three separate wildfires near Peachland, an alarming new video is offering a glimpse of the dangers they face.
The video was recorded Wednesday night by Twitter user Jenna Elyse, and shows the roughly 500-hectare Mount Eneas blaze burning troublingly close to Highway 97 as a line of vehicles evacuate the area.
The route is currently down to a single lane of alternating traffic between Peachland and Summerland, with RCMP cruisers on hand serving as escorts.
"Thankful to all of the emergency personnel who escorted us safely through the fire zone," Elyse wrote.
Her video was taken just south of Peachland, where the fire is threatening dozens of homes. Central Okanagan Emergency Operations said 60 properties have been evacuated due to the Mount Eneas blaze. About 150 people are affected by the alert.
- 6649 Hardy St.
- 6696 Highway 97
- 6705 Highway 97
- Units 1 – 40 6711 Highway 97
- 6691 – 6789 Thorne Rd.
Others remain on evacuation alert, meaning residents must be ready to flee if the situation worsens.
"Have a grab-and-go kit, get ready to get out at a moment's notice and to stay out of the house," public information office Summer Effray said.
One evacuee, Megan Shallow, told CTV News she was out of town in Sicamouse when she learned that her home was under threat.
She was fortunate in that she had many of her valuables on hand, but said it's still a challenge to find herself suddenly displaced.
"It's a weird feeling knowing that I can't go home, and I don't know when it's going to be – maybe it's tomorrow, maybe it's in two weeks," Shallow said. "It's just a big upheaval."
On the other side of Okanagan Lake, the Good Creek wildfire has grown to an estimated 340 hectares in size and triggered another set of evacuation alerts. The Law Creek blaze burning north of Peachland is tiny by comparison and not currently threatening any homes.
The fires are just a handful of the dozens of new wildfires that were sparked in the region by lightning this week.
Fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said many spread quickly under this week’s windy and hot summer weather.
"Saw a lot of explosive growth on a lot of those fires," Skrepnek said.
The heat has eased off slightly, and there's some rain in the forecast in the coming days, but it's unclear whether it will have much of an impact on firefighters’ efforts in the Southern Interior.
"Up north they're going to catch quite a bit of rain," Skrepnek said. "In the south it's much more of a mixed bag in terms of where that rain's going to fall, how much is going to fall and whether it's going to put much of a dent in the wildfire situation."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Allison Hurst