Residents fled their homes and the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) declared a local state of emergency as a fast-moving wildfire ignited northeast of Oliver, B.C., on Sunday evening.
Chief Clarence Louie ordered the evacuation of 13 homes on Sage Road and McKinney Road as the Wolfcub Creek wildfire threatened the safety and welfare of people and property.
Properties along Sandpoint Drive were placed under an evacuation alert.
Rob Graham, spokesperson for the Oliver fire department (OFD), said one home was damaged but fire crews managed to save it from total devastation.
Oliver firefighters were assisted by BC Wildfire Service crews and hit the blaze hard with air tankers and helicopters.
On Sunday, the fire was estimated at eight hectares in size and is classified as out-of-control. It grew to at least 45 hectares in size and is believed to be human-caused, according to the B.C. Wildfire Dashboard.
Fire officials said the fire is considered “being held.”
“The fire has had sufficient suppression action taken and the fire is not likely to spread beyond existing boundaries,” said fire information officer Aydan Coray on Monday.
Graham said a perimeter guard was established around the fire and provincial forestry crew doused hot spots overnight.
“The public is reminded to avoid the area as fire and emergency crews will be frequent in the area,” the OFD wrote in a Facebook post.
Graham said the fire was burning in very dry desert grasses and brush approximately five kilometres northeast of the city on OIB land.
McKinney Road was closed to vehicle traffic between Black Sage Road and Old Camp McKinney Road due to the wildfire on Sunday night, according to DriveBC.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen assisted the OIB with opening a reception centre for evacuees at the Oliver Recreation Centre.
Evacuees were supported by Emergency Social Services (ESS) and placed in temporary housing. The reception centre has since closed.
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