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. (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)

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

Boot launches campaign with Facebook Live event

NDP candidate for riding of Penticton joined by John Horgan, Richard Cannings and others

Osoyoos awards $77,000 contract for universal water metering

TR Underwood Engineering won the bid for planning and implementing water meters across town

Column: $200,000 donation to Penticton Regional Hospital more than ‘a little something’

The donation brings us closer to our goal of a second CT scanner at hospital

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen seeks input about proposed composting facility

Organics composting facility proposed for Campbell Mountain Landfill

Netflix star Francesca Farago seen hanging in the Okanagan

Farago got her big break as a reality TV star in Netflix’s ‘Too Hot to Handle’ in 2020

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

Peachland resident finds severed bear paw on driveway

Tracie Gordon thought it was a Halloween prank, but it turned out to be a real bear paw

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Zero new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Five cases remain linked to an outbreak at Calvary Chapel in Kelowna

Most Read