Kristi Patton A new wildfire broke out late Friday afternoon near Okanagan Falls. Kristi Patton/Western News

Update: Highway 97 reopens near Okanagan Falls

Fire west of of town that closed highway appears to be holding at seven hectares

  • Aug. 31, 2018 5:09 p.m.

Update: 8:53 p.m.

The Ministry of Transportation says Highway 97, one kilometre north of Okanagan Falls, has reopened in both directions after being closed earlier in the evening due to brush fire west of the south Okanagan town.

Update 8 p.m

The Ministry of Transportation is now estimating Highway 97 will re-open to traffic at 9 p.m. The road is closed one kilometre north of Okanagan Falls. Meanwhile, the detours using Eastside Road for northbound traffic and Highway 3A for southbound traffic remain in effect.

Update 7:50 p.m.

Highway 97 remains closed in both directions one kilometre north of Okanagan Falls due to the fire that is now estimated at seven hectares in size. No estimated time of re-opening has been set. An assessment is in progress and the Ministry of Transportation says it will update the road situation at 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, a detour route using Eastside Road for northbound traffic is in place and a detour route using Highway 3A is in place for southbound traffic.

Update 7:12 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service says the fire burning on the west side of Okanagan Falls is now about seven hectares in size. BC Wildfire Service personnel continue to respond alongside Okanagan Falls fire department firefighters and are working to build a guard and establish hose lay. Air tankers and helicopters remain on site. The fire service is calling it the Green Lake Road wildfire.

Update 6:25 p.m.

Highway 97 near Okanagan Falls is closed as crews work to get the wildfire under control.

Helicopters are continually bucketing the fire.

Update 6 p.m.

Nicole Bonnett, information officer for BC Wildfire, said an origin and cause team is on the way to investigate.

The fire is estimated to be about one hectare in size.

***

Original:

BC Wildfire is assisting Okanagan Falls fire crews with a blaze on the west side of an area know as Waterman’s Hill.

Local fire crews have shut down Green Lake Road off of Highway 97.

RELATED: Penticton firefighters attend another grassfire

Smoke and flames are visible for some distance in the area.

BC Wildfire is responding with ground crews and air support.

RELATED: Snowy Mountain fire still smoky

The fire, that broke out about 4:30 p.m., is suspected human-caused and is under investigation.

More to come.

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Bystanders watch from the Okanagan Falls IGA parking lot as planes and helicopters attack a new wildfire near the small town. Submitted photo

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