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B.C. declares state of emergency as wildfires force thousands out of their homes | Breaking:


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The latest on wildfires:

British Columbia’s fight against wildfires continues Saturday, after blazes broke out Friday night that destroyed property in the central Okanagan region.

The province is in a state of emergency due to hundreds of wildfires, and the emergency management minister said 15,000 people had been told to leave their homes and another 20,000 to prepare to leave at any moment.

He McDougall Creek Wildfire the burning in West Kelowna grew more than a hundredfold, from 64 hectares to 6,800 hectares (68 square kilometers), in just 24 hours. As of Friday night, it covered an area of ​​105 square kilometers, according to the BC Forest Fire Service.

CLOCK | The West Kelowna fire chief says the “devastation was unreal”:

Latest BC wildfires force thousands to leave their homes

Gusty winds are expected to exacerbate wildfire conditions in British Columbia, where authorities say the number of people under evacuation orders has jumped from 4,500 to 15,000 in an hour, and 20,000 more are on alert. of evacuation. “The devastation was just unreal,” the West Kelowna fire chief said.

More than 2,400 properties are under evacuation order and more than 4,800 properties are under evacuation alert due to the fire.

While properties were confirmed to have been destroyed in the fire, the exact number won’t be known until officials can assess the situation, according to an update Friday.

Kelowna has a population of approximately 150,000, while West Kelowna has about 36,000.

Airspace over the southern inner city remains closed due to the fire. The nearby BC Okanagan University campus was also evacuated Friday.

Fires burn in the distance as streetlights illuminate a stretch of road.
The McDougall Creek wildfire is seen from the Westside Road area of ​​the city on Friday. The fire has destroyed an unconfirmed number of properties. (Mike MacArthur/CBC)

Mary Ann Murphy, a sociologist at UBC Okanagan, described the situation in the Kelowna region as “eerie.”

“I have a really good air purifier in my house, but my house reeks of smoke,” he told CBC anchor Lisa Christiansen. north by northwestSaturday morning.

Murphy said she couldn’t believe the devastating fire was affecting her community, so on the heels of a deadly Hawaiian wildfire and a series of fires that led to the evacuation of Yellowknife, and nearly 20 years to the day it was started a devastating fire south of Kelowna. and destroyed nearly 240 homes.

“I never imagined, I honestly didn’t imagine that this could happen again in Kelowna this week, on the 20th anniversary of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire,” he said. “It feels eerily similar. I have to say, I really was in a state of disbelief.”

CLOCK | Residents film the approaching flames from the West Kelowna fire:

1692462346 765 BC declares state of emergency as wildfires force thousands

Smoke and flames billow over West Kelowna, BC as evacuations take place

More than 1,000 properties ordered to evacuate as wildfires spread rapidly into West Kelowna, BC

Under the province’s state of emergency, BC officials can issue emergency orders, including travel restrictions and the ability to release lodging for evacuees, first responders and healthcare workers.

Where Kelowna-area evacuees should go

The regional district is asking evacuees to contact friends and family as hotels, motels and other tour operators in the area are full.

For those in Kelowna, a reception center has been established at The Salvation Army in 1480 Sutherland Dr.

West Kelowna evacuees living south of Traders Cove can go to the Information Center on Royal LePage Place at 2760 Cameron Rd.

Two officers sit in police vehicles as a wildfire rages behind them.
RCMP officers are pictured at a road block following the evacuation order due to the McDougall Creek wildfire in West Kelowna on Friday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

For those north of Traders Cove, a reception center has been opened at Kal Tire Place in 3445 43rd Avenue in Vernon, about 60 miles north of West Kelowna.

All evacuees are asked to register through a provincial portal. A public information line is also available at 250-469-8490 or 1-877-569-8490.

Large fires burning near Lytton, Invermere

Further west, a fire in the Lytton area has forced the evacuation of numerous properties, along with the closure of a section of Highway 1.

He Kookipi Creek Wildfire south of the city covers an area of ​​87.9 square kilometers as of Saturday morning and has led to numerous evacuation orders and alerts from First Nations and regional districts. According to DriveBC, Highway 1 between Hope and Lytton is closed in both directions due to the fire.

He lytton villagewhich was decimated by a wildfire in 2021, is also under evacuation alert.

In southeast BC, officials urge calm as numerous fires burn around the community of Invermere, BC, with evacuation alerts for the Panorama Mountain resort.

In the Shuswap region, the Lower East Adams Lake fire it continues to burn, and evacuation orders remain in effect there.

DriveBC said Highway 1 was closed between Chase and Sorrento in both directions due to the fire. An update is expected at noon PT on Saturday.


Anyone with an evacuation order must leave the area immediately.

Evacuation centers have been set up across the province to help anyone evacuating a community threatened by a bushfire.

To find the center closest to you, visit the EmergencyInfoBC website.

Evacuees are encouraged to register with emergency support services online, whether or not they access services at an evacuation center.

Have a story to share?

If you were affected by the BC wildfires and would like to share your story, please email cbcnewsvancouver@cbc.ca.

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