British Columbia

B.C. fires: evacuation ordered near Shelter Cove area of West Kelowna

Fire crews and officials scrambled to keep residents safe from a quickly spreading blaze near Westside Road in West Kelowna, B.C., which has so far destroyed at least one home.

Darkness preventing helicopter or air tanker support from effectively assisting firefighters

A wildfire along Westside Road in Kelowna is rapidly burning down the hillside. (Danielle Erickson/Twitter)

Fire crews and officials scrambled to keep residents safe from a quickly spreading blaze near Westside Road in West Kelowna, B.C., which has so far destroyed at least one home. 

The wildfire was sparked by lightning on Sunday afternoon, and had largely died down before erupting again late Monday. It's now grown to 30 hectares in size, fuelled by strong winds and dry conditions, according to fire officials in the Central Okanagan Regional District.

Dramatic images on social media show it burning down the western slope of Okanagan Lake above Westside Road.

The BC Wildfire Service says the fire is burning at Rank 4, which is described as a vigorous surface fire.

The service says in a release that an evacuation order has been recommended to the Central Okanagan Regional District for approximately 70 properties in the Shelter Cove area.

The district has confirmed to CBC News that it is trying to move people out from residences and properties along Westside Road near Shelter Cove between La Casa and Lake Okanagan Resort.

Those impacted are asked to report to the Emergency Support Services reception centre at the Westbank Lions Community Hall, 2466 Main St. in West Kelowna.

At least 23 firefighters are currently battling the fire without the help of helicopter or air tanker support as it's too dangerous to fly to the fire in darkness.

Other evacuation orders in effect

The evacuation order in West Kelowna followed another issued late Monday for the area surrounding Bolean Lake, including the Bolean Lake Resort, due to an aggressive wildfire between Bolean Lake and Falkland.

The fire southwest of Salmon Arm covers about 300 hectares and the order affects about 24 properties.

The blaze was started by lightning on Sunday. Strong winds and dry conditions stoked it again late Monday. (Photo courtesy of Conor Boyle/Twitter)

Meanwhile, residents of 28 homes near Ashcroft were on evacuation alert because of an aggressive, growing fire sparked by lightning.

The BC Wildfire Service says the 250 hectare Coldstream Creek fire was discovered Monday and was fuelled by hot, dry conditions and strong winds.

Provincial Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says in the last 24 hours, 60 fires have started across B.C. and almost all have been sparked by lightning.

There have been almost 1,200 wildfires this season in B.C. and there are currently 216 burning, 15 of which are considered major fires.

With files from The Canadian Press

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