Richter Creek fire continues to grow, still listed as ‘out of control’

A helicopter drops water on the Richter Creek blaze just west of Osoyoos.

Thirteen more properties are under an evacuation alert this morning as a wildfire just west of Osoyoos continues to grow.

The Richter Creek blaze — located northwest of Hwy. 3 about 12 km west of Osoyoos — was estimated to be 400 hectares and considered out of control as of late Tuesday.

The fire is believed to have started Monday afternoon as a result of a vehicle fire. The highway remains open to traffic.

Forty firefighters and support staff are on scene, with another 40 personnel expected to arrive today, according to Hannah Swift, an information officer for the B.C. Wildfire Service.

“That will continue to increase throughout the week as necessary,” she added.

Two helicopters were also on the scene; the steep terrain is blocking the use of heavy equipment on the ground.

Ms. Swift said firefighters’ efforts were hampered by heavy winds.

The BC Wildfire Service defines an out of control as one “that is not responding (or only responding on a limited basis) to suppression action, such that the perimeter spread is not being contained.”

The newest evacuation alert covers properties on Sumac Road in Cawston and comes in addition to an alert issued Monday night for a single property about two kilometres to the northeast on Hwy. 3.

The alerts, which were issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, are precautionary, but residents covered by them should be prepared to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.

A smoke forecast provided by the BlueSky Canada forecasting system suggests the smoke will be pushed northwest and away from Osoyoos, although some smoke from a blaze in Washington State may pass nearby as it also travels in a northwest direction.

— with files from The Penticton Herald

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