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Wildfires, rising water levels hamper parts of BC

Last Updated May 29, 2017 at 3:56 pm PST

A look at a wildfire burning east of Lillooet. (Courtesy BC Wildfire Service)

Two wildfires are burning more than a dozen hectares

Water levels continue to rise on Okanagan Lake

LILLOOET (NEWS 1130) – It has been hot and it has been dry. And those conditions have, in part, contributed to two significant wildfires actively burning in BC.

The first blaze is about eight kilometres east of Lillooet. The Fountain Valley Road fire is now 30 hectares in size and the owners of at least two properties are being told to get ready to leave if the situation worsens.

“The Lillooet area gets very hot and of course there are winds that go through that area, and the fuel is very dry,” explains Max Birkner with the BC Wildfire Service.

There’s another fire burning near the border with Alberta — just west of Mount Robson Park. That one is five kilometres east of Tete Jaune Cache and it’s now 574 hectares in size.

Evacuation order in Lake Country

A new evacuation order has been issued for a resort area in Oyama, north of Kelowna because of flooding.

The Tween Lakes resort is being evacuated while 18 other properties near Wood Lake are on evacuation alert.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operations says property owners should bolster their flood protection measures if they haven’t done so already, and residents affected areas should be prepared to leave their homes at short notice in case conditions along the waterfront change.

Okanagan Lake rising, threatens roads

The water level of Okanagan Lake continues to go up, surpassing a record set 20 years ago and that’s putting some homes in the area at risk of water damage.

“We’re seeing a slow but steady increase in lake levels,” says Kari O’Rourke with the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre. “Environment Canada reported Okanagan Lake reached 343.08 metres as of 7 a.m., and that’s a 1.7 centimetre rise since yesterday at 6:25 a.m.”

That level is eight centimetres above historic flood levels that date back to 1948.

The regional district says flood protection measures are being bolstered along Highway 97 south from West Kelowna to Peachland in an effort to protect the route which runs along the shore of the lake.
Sandbagging and other measures have also been stepped up along the banks of Mission Creek through downtown Kelowna.

The creek is at flood stage but there’s concern it could climb even higher as several days of hot weather pushes more water from melting snow packs into the creek.

Emergency crews are also installing log booms around the eastern end of the William Bennett Bridge, on the edge of Kelowna’s downtown core, to reduce the threat of erosion around the bridge.