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Fire sparks off Highway 97 north of Penticton

Crews were able to quickly get a handle on the flames

Black smoke was seen rising from an area off Highway 97 north of Penticton just passed the Red Wing Resort community, Wednesday afternoon (July 10).

Emergency crews rushed to the scene at about 3 p.m. and were able to get a handle on the blaze within minutes of arriving. The fire was across the highway from a transient encampment.

Traffic headed northbound on Highway 97 leaving Penticton is at a standstill, with crews still on scene. Drivers are warned to slow down in the area as the highway has been reduced to a single lane near the fire. 

Witnesses in the area say there are at least four fire trucks on scene and four RCMP cruisers. 

The area has been a point of contention for some time, after a blaze erupted at the main encampment in October 2023. 

The land is part of an easement for Highway 97, which takes it out of the jurisdiction of the City of Penticton and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, and makes it the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. 

While there have been reports of MoTI serving eviction notices to those at the encampment, the ministry has not confirmed any evictions. 

In an emailed statement to Black Press Media, MoTI stated that it continues to work with the Ministry of Housing in regards to the encampments or if evictions had been delayed due to recent high temperatures. 

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen directed questions to the Ministry of Transportation. 


Jen Zielinski

About the Author: Jen Zielinski

I graduated from the broadcast journalism program at BCIT. I also hold a bachelor of arts degree in political science and sociology from Thompson Rivers University. I was also a reporter for Castanet and CBC. I am a volunteer with Okanagan Humane Society.
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