B.C. wildfires lead to state of emergency in West Kelowna and terror for motorists on Coquihalla Highway
Hot temperatures and windy conditions caused many B.C. wildfires to grow over the weekend. And a new blaze, dubbed the Mount Law wildfire, led to a local state of emergency being declared in West Kelowna.
West Kelowna is on the west side of Okanagan Lake and is home to 36,500 residents.
The fire is burning north of Highway 97C southwest of the Glenrosa neighbourhood. It prompted evacuation orders for properties on several roads.
Meanwhile, the Coquihalla Highway has been closed between Hope and Merritt.
That was prompted by the July Mountain wildfire, which is 45 kilometres southwest of Merritt. This blaze is on the west side of the highway and has grown to nearly 7,500 hectares.
The nearby Brook Creek wildfire is 30 kilometres south of Merritt and has grown to 500 hectares.
Before the Coquihalla Highway was shut down, some motorists put out some harrowing tweets of their experience along this route on Sunday (August 15).
The Sparks Lake wildfire, located 15 kilometres north of Kamloops Lake, has expanded to 90,550 hectares. That makes it the largest wildfire in the province.
But the 62,273-hectare White Rock Lake wildfire is one of the most damaging. Over the weekend, it damaged several structures north of Kelowna in the Killiney Beach area.
Meanwhile, the Tremont Creek wildfire is now 63,078 hectares and remains out of control. Last week, it forced the evacuation of the community of Logan Lake's 2,000 residents. On August 14, that evacuation order was expanded.
Residents of Merritt and Armstrong remain on evacuation alert, as do some residents of Kamloops
According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, there are 268 wildfires across the province. Since April 1, 766,709 hectares have burned.
The largest number of wildfires—86—is in the Kamloops fire district, followed by 64 in the southeast district and 60 in the Prince George district.