BRITISH COLUMBIA

West Kelowna Fire Burning Down Hillside

07/21/2015 03:16 EDT | Updated 07/21/2015 05:59 EDT

A rapidly growing fire in the B.C. Okanagan has destroyed one home and is threatening others in the same subdivision.

"A tactical evacuation" was underway late Monday night for 70 homes in the Shelter Cove area of West Kelowna, said officials with Central Okanagan Emergency Operations.

Lightning ignited the fire near Westside Road — the main route between West Kelowna and the north Okanagan — on Sunday, and gusty winds whipped it up on Monday evening, they said.


The fire destroyed one home, reported CBC News.

At 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, the fire was estimated to be about 30 hectares in size.

Darkness prevented airtankers and helicopters from helping roughly 20 firefighters battle the flames, said the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch. It described the blaze as a "rank 4," or a "highly vigorous surface fire."

Dramatic video and images posted to social media showed flames lighting up the hillside north of the Lake Okanagan Resort.

BC Hydro had to cut electricity to almost 1,400 customers as the fire came close to a transmission line.

Our beautiful province is up in flames again 😔 #kelowna #forestfire

A photo posted by ashleypiper (@ashleypiper) on


Crews in the same region continue to fight a wildfire in Bear Creek Park.

A third aggressive wildfire near Ashcroft in the central Interior has grown to 600 hectares in one day, fuelled by hot, dry conditions and strong winds. Residents of 28 homes in the area are on evacuation alert, prepared to leave at a moment's notice.

There have been almost 1,200 wildfires this season in B.C. and there are currently 216 burning, 15 of which are considered major fires.

With files from The Canadian Press

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