Out-of-control wildfire burning near Peachland, B.C., prompts evacuation order, alerts

The Glen Lake wildfire, burning about 15 kilometres west of Peachland, B.C., is seen from an aircraft on Sunday. (X/B.C. Wildfire Service - image credit)
The Glen Lake wildfire, burning about 15 kilometres west of Peachland, B.C., is seen from an aircraft on Sunday. (X/B.C. Wildfire Service - image credit)

A wildfire burning near Peachland, B.C., quadrupled in size on Sunday, prompting an evacuation order for 15 properties.

Peachland Mayor Patrick Van Minsel said Monday that the town's fire department is assisting the B.C. Wildfire Service as crews attempt to control the Glen Lake Fire, which is burning about 15 kilometres west of Peachland.

"There's no reason to panic," he said, speaking to CBC's The Early Edition. "Our fire crew is on it. They developed some plans in case it comes a little bit closer, to protect structures."

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen announced Monday evening an additional 144 properties in Electoral Area F are on evacuation alert due to Glen Lake. That includes Faulder, Meadow Valley and the west side of Highway 97 north of Summerland, the district said.

The District of Summerland, also Monday evening, put out an alert for 60 properties due to the same fire — from 24602 Garnet Valley Rd to the northern boundary of the District of Summerland.

According to B.C. Wildfire Service data, the Glen Lake Fire has grown to 4.5 square kilometres since it was first discovered on Saturday.

The fire is believed to be human-caused and, despite the mayor's assurances, the B.C. Wildfire Service says the blaze is not responding to suppression efforts and poses a potential threat to public safety.

Van Minsel said fire officials have a plan in place to protect the town's infrastructure.

"According to our fire chief, it's quite a long way from Peachland, and I'm very confident in our fire protection services — that they will get a handle on this," he said.

Peachland is a district municipality on the west side of Okanagan Lake and has a population of approximately 5,000 people. The forecast for the region indicates a chance of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Winds stir up fires in multiple regions

The Okanagan isn't the only B.C. region affected as gusty winds and unsettled weather helped kick up several wildfires over the weekend.

A total of four regional districts, from the Sunshine Coast to the Cariboo, central Okanagan and Peace River, issued or upgraded evacuation orders between Friday and Sunday.

Another three evacuation orders affect a total of 54 rural properties around the Horn Lake fire west of Williams Lake, the Clowhom Lake blaze northwest of Sechelt, and the Stoddart Creek fire north of Fort St. John.

As a gusty cold front swept through B.C. over the weekend, the Peace River Regional District upgraded orders and alerts on the northeast corner of the Stoddart Creek blaze, which has charred 295 square kilometres and has remained out of control since it was started, possibly by humans, in mid-May.

Evacuation alerts were also posted for blazes north and east of Pemberton, including for several properties at Spruce Lake in the South Chilcotin Mountain Park as the 93-square-kilometre Downton Lake blaze threatens the southern corner of the park known for its fishing and wild game viewing.

The wildfire service says the number of active blazes in B.C. remains above 400, with seven new fires started in the last 24 hours and 154 ranked as out of control.