Evacuation alerts ordered due to out-of-control Hedges Butte wildfire near Penticton, B.C.

The Hedges Butte wildfire near Penticton, B.C., is seen here in an aerial photo from the BC Wildfire Service on Sept. 3, 2021. (BC Wildfire Service)

Residents of 60 properties are on evacuation alert due to an out-of-control wildfire discovered Sept. 3, according to statements from the Penticton Indian Band and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

The Hedges Butte wildfire is burning 12 kilometres southwest of Penticton, says BC Wildfire Service, and as of Saturday morning it was 2.3 square kilometres.

The evacuation alert, which affects rural properties, came Friday evening, the same day the fire was discovered.

“BC Wildfire Service responded to the Hedges Butte wildfire with 30 ground personnel and assistance from six helicopters,” reads a statement from the wildfire agency.

Air tankers have been dropping fire retardant to help control the spread of the flames, and other planes have been dropping water.

“Skimmers also responded by dropping water from Skaha and Okanagan Lakes to cool the fire,” the statement reads.

The BC Wildfire service says crews were on-site on Friday night to monitor the fire throughout the evening. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“The extreme drought condition of the forest coupled with increased winds resulted in rapid growth of the fire through (Friday)” the statement continues.

“Crews will be on-site again today, September 4, working upslope off of the Green Mountain road creating hand-guards for containment.”