No structures have been lost in the growing Nk’Mip Creek wildfire, although a couple of pieces of equipment may have burned since the blaze sparked on Monday, July 19.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, along with the BC Wildfire Service, Town of Oliver, Town of Osoyoos and Osoyoos Indian Band, met to hold a news briefing on the evolving situation in the South Okanagan due to the blaze.
According to Erica Louie with the Osoyoos Indian Band Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), the Oliver Fire Department was once again dispatched Tuesday afternoon to the area that the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire is to have started in, as flames threaten two homes due to shifting winds.
BC Wildfire Service officer Dale Bojahra confirmed wildfire crews are working on the west and southwest flank of the blaze where there is the most exposure to structures.
An incident management team will be taking over the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire within the next 24 to 48 hours. BC Wildfire crews continue to support local fire departments with aircraft.
“The primary focus is to protect the community from wildfire losses,” explained Bojahra.
However, fire crews are being hindered by people refusing to leave their properties once placed under an evacuation order. RCMP, along with search and rescue crews from the South Okanagan, recently issued evacuation orders and some are not wanting to follow the direction.
Bojahra said when people refused to leave areas under evacuation order, it puts fire crews in a difficult position making it extremely hard to work the current wildfire situation and check on residents who remained at home and might now be needing help.
“Our fires crews are stretched thin and we are doing the best with what we can right now,” he said.
The Nk’Mip Creek wildfire is displaying aggressive behaviour and is an estimated 2,000 hectares.
Both farm and domestic animals that had to be evacuated were taken to the Dessert Centre in Osoyoos. The provincial operation centre in Kamloops is also assisting with evacuees and their animals.
The Alerts and Orders issued last night for the Inkaneep Fire remain in effect. More information on the fire will be shared when available from @BCGovFireInfo
— RDOS EOC (@EmergMgtRDOS) July 20, 2021
The evacuation impacts properties on Black Sage Road, Black Hills Road, Burrowing Owl Pl., McCudddy Creek Rd., McKinney Rd, Old Camp McKinney, Porcupine Pl., Saddle Ridge and Shrike Hill. To see all the addresses, click here.
Emergency Services and ALERT for animals has set up a reception area at the Oliver Legion located at 36217 Main St.
For residents in RDOS Areas A and C, please visit emergency.rdos.bc.ca for evacuation orders and alerts.
The Town of Osoyoos and the RDOS has issued an evacuation alert for all properties north of Highway 3, east of Cottonwood Drive and West of 45th Street. Also under alert is 7600 Cottonwood Drive and 7800 Cottonwood Drive.
The map and addresses on the new evacuation alert list can be found here.
Those who were forced from their campsites at the Nk’Mip RV Park in Osoyoos were asked to return to their hometowns as only permeant residents of the park are to register with Emergency Support Services.
FortisBC crews are supporting local emergency services in response to the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire. The blaze has forced FortisBC to de-energize part of its electricity system and while the system is still stable, it may be operating on the upper end of its limits on its system today.
Customers in the Osoyoos area are asked to reduce their electricity usage during the peak hours of use which is between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Some ways customers can reduce their energy use include:
- Cooking outdoors on barbeques tonight, if possible
- Washing dishes by hand or setting the timers on dishwashers to run in the middle of the night
- Running laundry later in the evening
- Reduce air conditioning use
Boaters are asked to stay off of both Skaha and Osoyoos Lakes as fire crews use aircraft to scoop water for the blaze.
Allan Chabot, the chief administrative officer with the Town of Osoyoos, asked residents to limit water usage due to power levels and to try not to water lawns or spread too much over the environment.
He added he was very pleased to see the outpouring of support from the community and their willingness to step up during this time of high alert.