Hundreds to endure another sleepless night as Penticton wildfire continues to grow

Mount Christie wildfire in Penticton, B.C., as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Lorna Nicholson/Instagram)Mount Christie wildfire in Penticton, B.C., as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Lorna Nicholson/Instagram)
Mount Christie wildfire in Penticton, B.C., as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Melodie Evanoff/Contributed to Black Press Media)Mount Christie wildfire in Penticton, B.C., as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Melodie Evanoff/Contributed to Black Press Media)
Mount Christie wildfire in Penticton, B.C., as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Melodie Evanoff/Contributed to Black Press Media)Mount Christie wildfire in Penticton, B.C., as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Melodie Evanoff/Contributed to Black Press Media)
Mount Christie wildfire in Penticton, B.C., as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Linda Fennemasmid/Instagram)Mount Christie wildfire in Penticton, B.C., as seen on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Linda Fennemasmid/Instagram)

Hundreds of residents in Penticton are preparing for another restless night after being forced from their homes due to a rapidly growing wildfire near Okanagan Falls on Tuesday (Aug. 18).

ALSO READ: One home destroyed as Mount Christie wildfire grows to 1,400 hectares

The blaze spread to 1,000 hectares in size within roughly four hours – sparking an evacuation order for more than 300 surrounding properties. The wildfire had grown a further 400 hectares as of Wednesday afternoon.

Lorna Nicholson, an author, was writing in her office when she received a text from a friend asking how close their house was to the Mount Christie wildfire. That’s when she walked downstairs, looked out the window and saw heavy smoke in the distance.

“It was small at first,” she told Black Press Media. “I went outside to watch and it kept getting bigger. Then a neighbour called and said our other neighbour, who is an RCMP, had said we were getting evacuated.”

ALSO READ: Boaters urged to avoid air tankers on Skaha Lake

Once they received the official door knock by officials, Nicholson and her family quickly packed up their two dogs, family photos, their computers and a few other essentials and headed to the house of a friend across Skaha Lake.

Hundreds of others – including locals and vacationers – quickly headed to the evacuation centre on Ellis Street, while heavy smoke billowed over the nearby bluff and trees could be seen candling.

Meanwhile, 3,600 other properties were put on alert with the possibility of thousands having to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.

Linda Fennema-Smid and her family can see the massive fire from their front porch on the northeast side of the city. While not under an official evacuation alert at this time, they “have packed our bags and [are] ready to go.”

She told Black Press Media that “with report of [zero]-per-cent containment this morning, we remain concerned and slept uneasily last night.”

ALSO READ: What to do with pets during the Mount Christie wildfire evacuation

BC Wildfire Service crews could be seen attacking the blaze via air tankers Tuesday afternoon and were working overnight to get control of the large fire. Efforts to hold the line were continued Wednesday.

It is too soon to confirm the cause of the fire, but August is the busiest month of the summer for wildfires due to the hot and tinder-dry conditions mixed with routine lightning storms.

“Not sure how many days we will be evacuated but the firefighters are working like crazy,” Nicholson said.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

bc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton bylaw services department. (Submitted file photo)
Mayor tries again for more bylaw officers

Mayor John Vassilaki wants to see bylaw offer seven day a week services with extended hours

The City Park dock in Kelowna was underwater due to rising Okanagan Lake flooding in 2017. (OBWB photo)
Okanagan facing extreme flooding risk

Water board calls for updated Okanagan Lake level management

From left to right, Slackwater Brewing’s assistant brewer Carri Kemp, co-founder Kelsey Peyton & shareholder Lyndi Cruickshank. Slackwater Brewing is releasing their second annual brew for International Women’s Day on March 8. (Submitted)
Slackwater’s female brewmasters are “Making Waves” with their latest beer release

Making Waves is available across B.C. on March 8 in honour of International Women’s Day

Penticton City Hall
Penticton City Hall continues with COVID-19 reduced hours

One year ago, city hall cut its hours in half, now it’s the only municipality left doing so

Penticton Golf and Country Club was in full swing on opening day on March 2. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Golf in full swing on opening day at Penticton course

All tee times are booked into the next two weeks at the Penticton Golf and Country Club

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Princeton Meals of Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

Kelowna Olympian Malindi Elmore has been honoured locally for her contributions to the sport of running. She is one of five Okanagan athletes who received an athletic excellence award from PacificSport Okanagan, this week. (Contributed/UBC Okanagan)
Okanagan athletes, coaches honoured for achievements during pandemic

Among them, Kelowna’s Malindi Elmore and Jacob Rubuliak named Community Sport Heroes

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Missing woman’s remains recovered after Vancouver Island boat fire

Remains of a 60-year-old woman recovered after Feb. 27 boat fire took her life

Most Read