US wildfire jumps border west of Osoyoos

Updated 08/31 at 6:30 a.m. with comments from BC Wildfire service

Here’s a border situation where a wall might have helped — if it were built of brick.

A wildfire in Washington State has crossed into Canada about 70 km west of Osoyoos, adding to wildfire woes in this province.

“We’re estimating it to cover an area of 1,700 hectares in Canada,”said Justine Hunse, a fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service.

The fire, located in the vicinity of Border Lake between Manning and Cathedral Lake provincial parks, was discovered overnight Tuesday. A BC Wildfire helicopter was dispatched Wednesday morning to assess “just how far the fire had spread into Canada.”

“The fire is predominately burning in backcountry area,” Ms. Hunse said. “The closest community is the community of Eastgate, which is approximately 17 km northwest of the fire.

“The fire is primarily moving in a northeast direction.”

In Washington state, the fire is known as the Diamond Creek Fire. It was discovered in late July and has since grown to about 13,000 hectares and destroyed two structures.

Its cause is under investigation but believed to be person-caused.

 

The Northwest Interagency Coordination Centre says 33 firefighters and one helicopter are fighting the blaze south of the border. The crew had as one of its objectives keeping the fire out of Canada.

“Our operations teams are currently assessing what values are threatened in (BC) and we’re currently developing a strategy for the way forward on the incident,” said Ms. Hunse.

BC Parks has closed Cathedral Lake Provincial Park and ordered the evacuation of Cathedral Lakes Lodge, a popular summer hiking alpine hiking resort in the park.

The blaze is also causing trouble in the South Okanagan and Similkameen, delivering smoky conditions to the region.

“We’ve received a lot of calls about smoke in the Okanagan-Similkameen area and it sounds like that due to the prevailing winds this is most likely the cause of that.”

 

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