A wildfire raging between Kamloops and Vernon, British Columbia, has breached a major highway, and neighbors claim they’ve watched their homes burn.
The White Rock Lake wildfire, which was last estimated to be 325 square kilometers in size, is one of the province’s largest of almost 300 ongoing fires. Thousands of properties are subject to evacuation orders or advisories.
At 11:30 p.m. PT, evacuation orders requiring residents to leave immediately were issued for:
- More than 600 properties in Westwold, Monte Lake, Falkland, and Cedar Hill.
- There are 373 properties in the Pritchard area
- The Central Okanagan Regional District has jurisdiction over 544 properties, including all Westshore Estates holdings.
- Okanagan Indian Band properties in the Six Mile-Nashwito and Newport areas.
Evacuation warnings were issued for the following areas, requiring inhabitants to be prepared to depart at any time.
- 2,500 properties in the Campbell Creek, Barnhartvale, and Dallas communities of Kamloops, southeast of the city’s heart.
- 117 properties along Highway 1 and the city limits of Kamloops.
- About 2,400 properties between Westshore Estates and Bear Forest Service Road in the Central Okanagan Regional District.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District tweeted Thursday night that its website had collapsed owing to a high volume of users, and instead recommended them to its Evacuation Status Dashboard.
Highway 97 was blocked earlier in the day for a 62-kilometer section between Salmon River Road and Monte Creek to help crews, and authorities warn it will likely remain closed overnight.