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Wildfires force thousands to evacuate, highways to close across B.C. Interior

Multiple highways are closed and several communities are evacuating due to fires
July Mountain wildfire off Coquihalla, Sunday Aug. 15. (Contributed/Andy Levang)

Wildfires are creating a massive cauldron of flames and smoke affecting a majority of the southwestern B.C. region as of Sunday night.

Several of the blazes have forced closures of several major highways in the Interior.

The Coquihalla is closed, as is Highway 1 between Spences Bridge and Boothroyd, along with Hwy. 8 between Lower Nicola and Spences Bridge.

At least a half dozen communities in the region are being forced to evacuate or placed on alert to leave at a moment’s notice.

The Lytton Creek wildfire has caused evacuation orders to be issued for upwards of 2,500 people living in Lower Nicola and the Nicola Indian Band west of Merritt.

As well, Merritt has also issued an evacuation alert for the entire city due to the Lytton Creek fire.

In the southwest, Brookmere is under evacuation order.

The out-of-control White Rock Lake fire, estimated to be 62,273 hectares in size, has forced evacuation orders affecting multiple regional districts, from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District to the Central Okanagan Regional District to the Columbia- Shuswap Regional District.

READ MORE: Evacuation order issued for neighbourhoods southeast of Falkland

READ MORE: UPDATE: West Kelowna evacuation order expanded as Mount Law wildfire grows to 200 hectares

A new wildfire sparked Sunday night in the hills above West Kelowna forced hundreds of Glenrosa residents from their homes. The Mount Law wildfire grew from eight to 200 hectares in a matter of hours.

North of Kamloops, the Logan Lake and Savona areas have evacuated or are preparing to do so, pending orders from the BC Wildfire Service.

As of Sunday evening, the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt is closed in both directions, and the Garrison Lake blaze is encroaching on Highway 3 between Princeton and Hope. That fire forced the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to issue an evacuation order for electoral area H on Sunday afternoon.

READ MORE: Evacuees who are COVID-19 positive should contact health authority, says OKIB


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