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Oliver visitors urged to leave room at hotels for potential wildfire evacuees

Last Updated Jul 20, 2021 at 10:48 am PDT

FILE - Oliver, B.C. (Courtesy Oliver, Instagram)

Parts of Oliver are under an evacuation alert due to the nearby Nk’Mip Creek wildfire

Evacuation orders issued for Osoyoos due to wildfire nearby

Oliver mayor says wildfire evacuees may need to find a place to stay, and that could be a challenge if hotels are full

OLIVER (NEWS 1130) – Though tourism isn’t top of mind at the moment, with wildfires putting many B.C. communities in a tough position, the mayor of Oliver says his town is open.

Martin Johansen says crews appear to have a handle on some of the fires burning in the area, but that doesn’t mean concerns have waned.

If you’re planning to visit wine country, Johansen urges you to consider whether you need a hotel room, as space is already limited and could be in even more demand due to evacuations.

“If you’re going somewhere, you have to take that into consideration and be ready to maybe change your plans, depending on how the fire develops or how the winds change. And that’s the biggest factor right now,” he told NEWS 1130 Tuesday.

Read more: B.C. says accommodations for wildfire evacuees are filling up as evacuations continue

“Pay attention to the news, take into consideration what’s going on, and make a decision on your own what you think the best approach is.”

Johansen notes people who are forced to leave their homes often have little time to prepare to do so, adding they need to find somewhere to stay.

“That accommodation is pretty thin right now. A lot of the hotels here [are] full up, so there’s not many places for people to go. But imagine if you’re being evacuated from your house and you don’t have family or friends to go to, and all the accommodation is full. Where do you go?”

Parts of Oliver are under an evacuation alert due to the nearby Nk’Mip Creek wildfire (formerly referred to as the Inkaneep Creek wildfire), which has forced many people in neighbouring Osoyoos out of their homes.

The Nk’Mip Creek fire started Monday, and spread hundreds of hectares in just hours.

“You’ve got a ton of resources on that fire … everybody’s trying to figure out what’s going on, trying to figure out where the alerts are going to be, where the evacuation orders are going to be. And those are evolving as you go,” explained Johansen. “Maps are being produced and then changed, and so that’s the kind of chaos that happens in the first few hours as everything is evolving.”

The fire started around 4 p.m. By 10:30 p.m., evacuation orders and alerts were issued.

As of Tuesday morning, the Nk’Mip Creek fire was an estimated 1,100 hectares in size. The fire is classified as “out of control” and the cause is still unknown.