UPDATE (6:30 p.m.)
The White Rock Lake wildfire is now estimated at 64,720 hectares in size, growing slightly throughout the day on Monday.
According to a Monday update from the BC Wildfire Service, the fire grew on all flanks today. The most significant swells were spotted in the northeast, from Naswhito Creek across Six Mile Creek, and on the east flank down into Okanagan Indian Band IR#1 and across Westside road in the Fintry Park / Ewing area.
Among the 50 to 60 structures that sustained significant damage due to the fire was the community staple Little Kingdom store on Westside Road. As shown in photos sent to Black Press Media, the shop was destroyed by the blaze overnight.
The BC Wildfire Service continues to combat the fire with 219 wildland firefighters, 143 structural protection personnel, 16 helicopters, 18 danger tree assessors/fallers and 64 pieces of heavy equipment, as well as an incident management team and support staff.
UPDATE (2:20 p.m.)
Airtankers have been grounded due to smoky conditions but helicopters continue to fight the fire from above.
Between 50 and 60 buildings were significantly damaged overnight due to the out-of-control White Rock Lake wildfire burning at an estimated 62,273 hectares between Vernon and Kamloops.
But a thorough damage assessment won’t be complete until it’s safe to do so, BC Wildfire said in an update Monday, Aug. 16.
Fire activity was so intense, BCWS firefighters trying to battle the blaze in the Killiney area overnight weren’t able to leave until around 2 a.m.
Crews were pulled off the fire for safety purposes, but travel along local roads wasn’t safe and they sheltered in place in Westshore Estates until conditions improved.
Firefighters worked on protecting buildings overnight around the Six Mile area and along Okanagan Lake near Fintry Park or Ewing.
Structures were destroyed by the White Rock Lake wildfire overnight, BC Wildfire Services confirmed Monday morning, but the extent of damages is unknown at this time.
A fire information officer with BCWS said the loss was significant and extensive along Westside Road, but an official count will have come from local governments, such as the Okanagan Indian Band and Regional District of Central Okanagan.
“Multiple structures in the Killiney area experienced significant damage overnight as drought conditions and high winds increased fire action on the White Rock Lake Fire,” the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations said Monday, Aug. 16.
The White Rock Lake, estimated at 62,273 hectares, showed aggressive fire behaviour on the northeast flank and southern flank Aug. 15, as skies in the North Okanagan turned from orange to black.
The fire has spotted 2.5 kilometres across Six Mile Creek. A five-hectare fire was detected northeast of Six Mile Creek.
BC Wildfire Services said all containment lines are being reassessed Monday for breaches. Ground and aerial crews continue to defend remaining guards and containment lines and structure protection and wildfire fighters continue to provide 24-7 protection in affected communities.
“I know many of you are concerned about what this fire is doing and where it’s going and just to give you reassurance we do have crews on 24 hours a day and they’re working on this fire as hard as they can,” said BCWS incident commander Mark Healey in a late-night update Sunday.
Evacuation orders are still in effect for the entire Okanagan Indian Band IR#1, a portion of the North Okanagan Regional District, Thompson Nicola Regional District, some in the Township of Spallumcheen and the Regional District of Central Okanagan.
Sixty-four pieces of heavy equipment, 219 wildland firefighters, 143 structure protection personnel, 16 helicopters and 18 danger tree fallers are assigned to the fire.