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Saturday, September 18, 2021

‘Unpredictable winds’ force nearly 1,000 more B.C. property evacuations as White Rock Lake wildfire grows

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VANCOUVER — As the White Rock Lake fire in B.C.’s Interior continues to wreak havoc, officials have ordered evacuations of nearly 1,000 additional properties.

The order affecting residents and campsites in areas on the west side of Okanagan Lake, came late Friday evening as wind fuelled the fire.

“(There have been) continued aggressive behavior and unpredictable winds with the White Rock Lake wildfire,” reads a statement from the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Specifically, the affected area runs south from Ewings Landing to the south end of La Casa Lakeside Resort, and includes properties in: Valley of the Sun; Upper Fintry; Shalal Road; Fintry Delta; Fintry Provincial Park; and La Casa Lakeside Resort.

Many areas within the city of Vernon are also on evacuation alert in connection to the White Rock Lake wildfire. On Friday evening, the entire city was put on alert, however by Saturday morning, rain meant that some of the alerts affecting the city were rescinded. Vernon further rescinded the alert Saturday afternoon, leaving only a few neighbourhoods in the alert area.

Residents who were forced to evacuate are being offered help with food and lodging through the province’s Emergency Support Services program in Kelowna, but tourists and visitors were asked simply to return to their homes.

“Non-residents and those visiting in the Evacuation area should consider safely returning to their communities as ESS services are strained by evacuees across the Province,” continues the statement.

The White Rock Lake wildfire, listed as “out of control,” has spread to an estimated 55,000 hectares, which is an increase from Friday morning’s estimation of 45,000 hectares.

There are currently 290 wildfires burning in the province.

Earlier on Friday, officials announced that an evacuation alert for properties south of Westshore Estates – those along Westside Road from Killiney Beach, including Ewings Landing – had been upgraded to an order.

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