The City of Penticton held a press conference in conjunction with BC Wildfire and the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen Thursday (Aug. 20) afternoon to address concerns over the Christie Mountain wildfire.
The fire, which began on the afternoon of Aug. 18, has grown to an estimated 2,000 hectares. BC Wildfire has projected that forecasted winds may create challenges Thursday evening.
Nicole Bonnet of the B.C. Wildfire Service said things are looking good in the firefighting efforts.
Overnight, 40 firefighters were working on the fire.
On the morning of Aug. 20, a total of 100 firefighters were at the scene. In addition, there were nine helicopters as well as additional aircraft for firefighting.
“We have had sustained 24-hour operations from the time the fire started,” she said.
Because of the steep, rocky terrain, firefighting efforts have been challenging, Bonnet said.
Mitch Pence of the B.C. Wildfire Service added that strong winds in the forecast could also affect firefighting efforts.
Pence said the wildfire service will now be taking over the firefighting operations.
Penticton mayor John Vassilaki urged people to register with Emergency Support Services now if they are living near the fire area.
“We are asking you to register now because of the number of people who may be affected,” he said.
The website is at ess.gov.bc.ca. For those on an evacuation alert or order, and for those who have been displaced from their homes, there is a prominent yellow link on the site that reads Self-Register Now.
Karla Kozakevich, chair of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, said the evacuation order is still in place for the Heritage Hills area near Penticton.
Crews are assessing the damage from the fire
She added that the public needs to be prepared for this and other wildfires.
“Now is the time to activate your household emergency response plan,” she said.
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