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More than 1K properties on alert, evacuation orders issued for wildfire near Invermere

The Horsethief Creek blaze was first discovered at about 2:15 p.m. Monday

UPDATE: 10:40 p.m.

An evacuation order is being issued by the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) due to the immediate danger of the Horsethief Creek wildfire.

The order is for 25 properties and a number of recreation sites in the Horsethief Creek and Bear Mountain area.

There is also an evacuation alert affecting 1,041 properties including, Panorama Mountain Resort, Westside Road Area (from Invermere to Radium), Mount Forster, and Lake Lillian Recreation Area.

RCMP along with other emergency crews are in the area and expediting the order.

The evacuation order is in effect for the following areas:

• Forester Forest Service Road to the north

• Lake Enid Recreation site to the east

• Bear Mountain to the south

• Bruce Mount Service Road to the west

order

There is an evacuation alert in place for the following areas:

• Panorama Mountain Resort

• Westside Road Area (from Invermere to Radium)

• Mount Forster

• Lake Lillian Recreation Area.

alert

For those under an evacuation order, the RDEK recommends the following:

• Register at Evacuee Registration & Assistance (ERA) tool at https://ess.gov.bc.ca/ and proceed to ESS Reception Centre at the Columbia Valley Centre at 646 4th Street, Invermere BC.

• If you need transportation assistance from the area, advise the person providing this notice or call 250-489-9677.

• Close all windows and doors.

• Close gates (latch) but do not lock.

• Gather your family and, if you have room, take a neighbour or someone needing transportation. Do not use any additional vehicles than necessary.

• Take critical items (medicine, purse, wallet, and keys) only if they are immediately available. Take pets in pet kennels or on leashes. Further information will be issued should the situation change; updates will be provided on the RDEK website (www.rdek.bc.ca) and Facebook page. For more information call the RDEK Information line at 250-426-2188 or toll-free at 1-855-346-2188.

For those under the evacuation alert, the RDEK is recommending the following:

Register for the Evacuation Notification System at www.rdek.bc.ca – this will ensure that we can reach you rapidly if the evacuation status changes. • Pre-register all household members on the provincial Evacuee Registration & Assistance (ERA) Tool at http://ess.gov.bc.ca persons who have a BC Services Card may be eligible to receive an e-transfer using the BC Services Card App.

• Have a ‘To-Go Bag’ packed and ready to leave at a moment’s notice, with essential items such as government-issued ID, medications, money, clothing, personal care items, important documents (e.g. insurance, banking and mortgage info), valuables and keepsakes.

• Designate a meeting location outside of the evacuation alert area where all family members can meet should anyone become separated.

• Prepare to assist young children and persons with mobility issues, if assistance is required.

• Relocate any livestock to a safe area and prepare to take your pets with you. Include food, water, carriers, medication and anything necessary for the animal’s safe well-being. If commercial producers required additional assistance relocating livestock, contact the RDEK Information line at 250-426-2188 or toll-free at 1-855-346-2188.

• Arrange transportation for all your household members and ensure there is enough fuel in vehicles to reach your destination. If assistance is needed, call 250-489-9677.

• Arrange accommodation for all members of your household, if possible, including staying with friends or relatives, or finding alternative accommodations.

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ORIGINAL:

A wildfire burning 10 km west of Invermere that was discovered Monday afternoon is highly visible to the surrounding area and poses a potential threat to public safety.

There are no current evacuation orders or alerts associated with this incident.

The Horsethief Creek blaze was first discovered at about 2:15 p.m. Monday and grew to about 300 hectares by 8 p.m. (MST).

BC Wildfire is reporting that the location is within the Bruce Mountain region, and originated approximately 7 km north of Panorama Mountain Resort and 10 km west of Invermere.

Due to smoke and challenging flying conditions, an accurate size of this incident was not able to be obtained. The size will be updated when visibility allows as BC Wildfire expects this blaze to increase.

“This fire is suspected to be lightning-caused. Aggressive fire behaviour is being driven by a cold front causing southwest winds that are gusting in the 45 km/hr range,” stated BC Wildfire.

As this is a new an emerging blaze a response officer is flying in the area. This officer will plan a suppression strategy and tactics that are the most effective, said BC Wildfire.

The Horsethief Creek wildfire is continuing to spread and is not responding to suppression efforts. This blaze is now the third fire of note in the Southeast Fire District.

READ MORE: Some evacuation orders rescinded in ʔaq̓am as wildfire response continues

READ MORE: Animal Food Bank desperate for Okanagan donations to support fire evacuees

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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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