'There's fire close to people's homes': Out-of-control wildfire near Osoyoos growing
An out-of-control wildfire burning about six kilometres north of Osoyoos, B.C., has forced the evacuation of more than 200 properties and left many others on evacuation alert.
The aggressive Nk’Mip fire has grown to an estimated 2,000 hectares, filling the skies with smoke as crews work to control the flames.
Jared Casmier says he saw the fire flare up on the mountainside, and within hours, word came that he had to leave.
“Just chaos, all the fire and all the smoke,” he said, describing the scene.
Casmier says many people living on Osoyoos Indian Band land are worried what they might come back to.
“There’s fire close to people’s homes. There’s hotspots. It's going up to the mountain, affecting the wildlife,” he said.
The fire broke out late afternoon Monday near Inkaneep Road, which the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Emergency Services said is within Osoyoos Indian Band jurisdiction.
Shortly before 7:30 p.m., the band issued an evacuation order for nearly 200 properties. Residents were told to leave the area immediately and register as an evacuee in Oliver.
Later that evening, the regional district ordered evacuations at about 60 more properties.
Dozens more in the district are under evacuation alert, including Roy Weiss's home.
“We were just here yesterday afternoon. A big plume of smoke came out of the north side and it just took hold,” he told CTV News.
“About midnight we woke to it coming over the top of the ridge and flames coming down this side,” Weiss explained.
Weiss and his neighbours have been patrolling the area looking for any falling embers that could cause a fire to ignite closer to them.
Residents on evacuation alert have been told to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.
Pilots have been hard at work dumping water on the fire – but despite their efforts, the fire has continued to spread.