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Concern over incoming weather as Keremeos Creek wildfire grows past 6,800 ha

Potential lightning, thunderstorms and erratic winds are being monitored into tomorrow
(BC Wildfire Service)

Lightning, thunderstorms and erratic winds could soon complicate efforts to fight the nearly 7,000-hectare Keremeos Creek wildfire.

BC Wildfire Service says it is tracking the potential of rain and cooler temperatures in the forecast overnight, prompting “concern” for crews as they continue to battle the fire and contain hotspots in the area.

“It’s cooler today which is definitely helping but the weather we are tracking is an upper-low with some tropical moisture coming up Oregon and Washington this afternoon, evening and into tomorrow,” said Mikhail Elsay from the Kamloops Fire Centre during a Tuesday update. “We’re concerned that it might bring thunderstorms, lightning and erratic winds which may give us some new starts.”

More than 540 properties remain on evacuation order as a result of the fire, with an additional 1600 on alert.

Highway 3A is still closed, as crews continue to mop up the fire along the road. Before re-opening, BC Wildfire Service and the Ministry of Transportation say they need to ensure rolling debris doesn’t impact drivers and that all other risks are mitigated.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said on Aug. 9, that those under evacuation orders will not be provided with temporary-access permits for non-emergency reasons, citing the areas to be prone to falling debris and other dangers.

“These areas are also active work zones, which include aircraft operations and heavy equipment on roadways,” it added.

A total of 413 firefighters are currently assigned to work the blaze, as crews continue with planned ignition operations.

Key areas into Tuesday evening, with the incoming weather remaining a challenge, include Olalla FSR, Green Mountain Road to the north, the Apex Mountain Resort area, Cedar Creek, and Dividend Mountain.

There is no estimate on when Highway 3A will reopen.

READ MORE: Keremeos Creek Wildfire over 6,800 hectares