British Columbia

200 inmates at Oliver jail under wildfire evacuation alert

The Okanagan Correctional Centre and its 200 remaining inmates are under an evacuation alert due to the expanding Eagle Bluff wildfire near Oliver, B.C.

100 high risk inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre already moved to different locations

The Okanagan Correctional Centre and its inmates are on evacuation alert due to the growing Eagle Bluff wildfire. (B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General)

The Okanagan Correctional Centre and its 200 remaining inmates are under an evacuation alert due to the expanding Eagle Bluff wildfire near Oliver, B.C.

According to the union of jail guards, 100 high risk inmates were moved out overnight as the fire worsened. 

Government spokesperson Caroline McAndrews said the management team at the jail has plans in place should the evacuation alert turn into an evacuation order, .

"Sheriff transportation has been arranged for inmates. B.C. Corrections has the capacity to accommodate transfers as necessary. Families will be notified once transfers are complete," said McAndrews in an email to CBC News.

McAndrews did not say where the inmates are being moved to.

"It is for the safety and security of the general public that we do not share the details of our business continuity plans and transfers," she said. 

OCC houses both male and female inmates in high, medium and open security levels.

No one from Corrections B.C. or the jail was available for an interview.

A person who answered the phone at the facility said wildfire smoke was visible from the jail's grounds.

OCC is one of 10 properties located in the Senkulmen Business Park on Osoyoos Indian Band lands affected by an expanded evacuation alert

The B.C. Wildfire Service says crews are working in steep, rocky terrain to put out the Eagle Bluff fire. (BC Wildfire Service)

Amanda Anderson of the Osoyoos Indian Band said the Eagle Bluff wildfire tripled in size over the past 24 hours.

"Last night the winds picked up and started heading south. The fire was heading east before that. So, by direction of B.C. Wildfire we expanded the evacuation alert," said Anderson.

The Okanagan Correctional Centre opened two years ago and is the largest provincial-level correctional facility in B.C., with 378 cells.

It was built at a cost of $200 million and employs up to 240 staff and 60 support workers.

With files from Brady Strachan

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