UPDATE: AUGUST 15, 2015 5:11 PM
Some of the evacuation orders have been lifted in two wildfires burning near Oliver.
As of Saturday afternoon, 360 people with homes in the Wilsons Mountain Fire area can now go home.
More than 100 affected by the Testalinden Creek Fire still face an evacuation order.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes spoke at a town hall meeting this afternoon…
“I’ve lived here pretty much my whole life. I don’t think the town or the rural area has ever faced with something quite like this before. I just really wanna thank the many, many people, especially the volunteers from the operations centre. Those across the hall that were working tirelessly throughout the night.”
As Hovanes extended his thanks, he became emotional.
“The community really came together. The volunteers are really precious to this community. The work that they do…for this community. I want to thank the Emergency Services…uh…sorry, oh gosh.”
Also at the meeting was Chair of the Regional District – Mark Pendergraft who said the danger is far from over, even though the order for the Wilsons Mountain Fire has been downgraded to an alert.
“Keep that in mind, that it’s still an alert. The fire is active, that could change at any time. The Tesalinda fire will remain on the evacuation order at this time, subject to further assessment later in the day and further into tomorrow.”
UPDATE: AUGUST 15, 2015 12:35 pm
BC Wildfire says at least three structures have been damaged in the wildfires burning near Oliver.
One structure burning at the Wilsons Mountain; the other two lost at the Testalinden Fire.
Nearly 400 families have been forced from their homes.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen says 260 homes on the edge of town been evacuated because of the Wilsons Mountain Fire.
100 families have been displaced by the Testalindin Fire.
Residents are being asked to check in with emergency social services at the Oliver Community centre.
Helicopters soar overhead, quickly dropping their buckets into a nearby lake, gathering water to drop on a lightening caused wildfire smoldering near homes and vineyards.UPDATE: Off highway 97 between Osoyoos and Oliver, flames have subsided, but the smoke is heavy, billowing into the air.
Fire information officer Kayla Pepper says they didn’t get much help with the weather.
“Best case scenario would have been if we had some precipitation on this wildfire. Unfortunately, the cells that moved through the region did not create any significant precipitation. We are seeing clearer skies today, however, so we’re hoping we have the ability to use out air tankers to support the ground crews.”
The Wilsons Mountain fire, about a kilometre to the north is now 200 hectares, one structure is confirmed to have been lost to the blaze.
The Testalinden Fire to the south is now 1300 hectares.
August 14, 2015 09:05 pm
Two forest fires burning near Oliver have forced evacuations and have fire fighters struggling to contain both blazes.
Fire information officer Kayla Pepper says one fire is burning 1km north of the town, while the the other is 7km south.
“The larger of the fires is burning to the south, and that one was last estimated at over 750 hectares in size, while the other one is burning at just over 150 hectares.”
It is not yet known how many people have been forced to evacuate and or many homes have been lost in the fire.
Fire fighters have not managed to contain either of the blazes.
More than 200 homes have been evacuated.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes says one of the fires came right up to homes in the town.
“It’s very much an interface fire, I don’t believe any homes have been lost, but the fire has come right up to the home on the west side of the valley of our community.”
One fire burns, one kilometre from town burns at 90 hectares in size, while the larger one, 7 kilometres from town is 450 hectares in size.
A second evacuation centre has been opened up in Osoyoos for people who are evacuated from Oliver.