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Wildfire burning within sight of downtown Kelowna, B.C., prompts evacuation order, alert

Emergency orders and alerts have been issued as a plume of smoke rose from a fire on Knox Mountain, within Kelowna's city boundaries, on Canada Day.

B.C. Wildfire Service assists Kelowna firefighters in battling highly visible Canada Day blaze

Red plumes of fire retardant drop from an airplane onto smoke from a wildfire on a mountain above houses, an apartment tower and a lake.

Residents near an out-of-control wildfire visible from downtown Kelowna, B.C., have been ordered to evacuate from their homes on Canada Day.

Firefighters and air bombers tackled the Knox Mountain wildfire burning within the boundaries of the Okanagan city.

The fire broke out Saturday and by mid-afternoon it was estimated to be four hectares in size.

Police and rescue officials carried out "tactical evacuations" of residents from Knox Mountain and Poplar Point, including Knox Mountain Park, according to the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

The district also issued an evacuation alert for several other nearby properties.

    Firefighters tackled the out-of-control fire as authorities asked everyone to stay away from the area for their own safety and that of emergency personnel.

    <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Evacuation?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Evacuation</a> orders have been issued for parts of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Kelowna?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Kelowna</a>, including Knox Mountain Park, Poplar Point &amp; Magic Estates due to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BCWildfire?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BCWildfire</a>. Emergency Support Services are available at 1480 Sutherland Avenue, Kelowna, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BC</a>. More info: <a href="https://t.co/pyTpxdBgqJ">https://t.co/pyTpxdBgqJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/kQ3PE9umR8">https://t.co/kQ3PE9umR8</a>


    "It's located just north of downtown Kelowna, so very highly visible to the surrounding area," Aydan Coray, a fire information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS), told CBC News.

    "It's still classified as out of control at this time … so there will be quite a bit of activity in the area."

    Cpl. Judith Bertrand with West Kelowna RCMP says the cause of the fire is unknown and the number of residents facing evacuation is unclear as the situation is still unfolding.

    Bertrand says the area around Knox Mountain is quite dense and a popular spot for tourists, and police are assisting fire crews with the evacuation to ensure public safety.

    She says the Magic Estates area around the mountain is being evacuated because winds are making the direction of the fire hard to predict.

    The wildfire service deployed helicopters, fire-retardant aircraft and on-the-ground personnel to battle the blaze.

    Holiday beach-goers observed BCWS air tankers dropping red flame retardant over the fire's smoke plume on Saturday afternoon.

    As of 3 p.m., 12 BCWS personnel were on site near the fire with more on the way, Coray said, as the fire showed visible flames and a "moderate rate of spread."

    "We have staff on standby at all of our bases throughout the long weekend," Coray added, noting that the Okanagan region's ongoing hot and dry weather have made new fires more likely.

    Evacuation orders have impacted the following areas:

    • Poplar Point.
    • North of Knox Mountain Park Drive.
    • Knox Mountain Park.
    • Magic Estates.
    • Rio Drive.
    • All areas west of Clifton Drive.


    David P. Ball


    David P. Ball is a multimedia journalist with CBC News in Vancouver. He has previously reported for the Toronto Star, Agence France-Presse, and The Tyee, and has won awards from the Canadian Association of Journalists and Jack Webster Foundation. You can send story tips or ideas to david.ball@cbc.ca, or contact him on Twitter.

    With files from Brady Strachan, Tom Popyk and The Canadian Press

    Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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