British Columbia

Dozens evacuated from B.C. provincial park after wildfire crosses over from U.S.

Guests and staff at Cathedral Lakes Lodge were told to leave on Thursday.

Cathedral Lake Provincial Park was closed on Thursday

The Diamond Creek wildfire started in Washington State, but crossed the Canada-U.S. border near Keremeos earlier this week. (Sara Billings/Facebook)

Dozens of guests and staff have been evacuated from a remote vacation destination in the Okanagan after a Washington-state wildfire crossed the Canadian border.

Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park, about 30 kilometres south of Keremeos, was closed to the public as a precaution on Thursday. The Cathedral Provincial Lodge is within the park and can only be reached on a private road using off-road vehicles.

The out-of-control Diamond Creek wildfire crossed into B.C. towards the park earlier this week, prompting the precautionary evacuations. 

Lodge operator Glenda Patterson said it was a challenge to round up the guests, as many visit the park to take advantage of world-class hiking and fishing.

"You have to find everybody. They are out on a trail somewhere over 10 miles this way or five miles that way ... that takes a lot of manpower to go out, find these people, bring them back to the lodge campground and go," she said.

"We are very remote. There is one road in and one road out."

Patterson also said it's tough to have to close the business right before the busy Labour Day long weekend. She said she hopes a reassessment of the situation will determine it's safe to reopen before Friday night.

The B.C. Wildfire Service has asked people to avoid the backcountry and recreation areas in southern B.C. over the weekend as the wildfire danger is still extreme.

Forecasters are calling for hot and smoky weather until at least Tuesday.

There are 150 wildfires burning across the province.

With files from Brady Strachan

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