A helicopter flies near the Christie Mountain wildfire near Penticton. (BC Wildfire Service)

Evacuation alert partially lifted for Christie Mountain wildfire in Okanagan

Alert for 3,669 homes had been issued on Aug. 18 due to Christie Mountain wildfire

An evacuation alert for 3,669 properties in the southeast portion of Penticton has been lifted as of Aug. 24 at 10:30 a.m.

The alert had been put in place on Aug. 18 as a result of the Christie Mountain wildfire.

“In consultation with BC Wildfire and our regional partners, it’s been determined the threat caused by the Christie Mountain Wildfire has subsided. I’m pleased to report the evacuation alert has now been lifted,” said Donny van Dyk, Penticton’s emergency operation centre director and chief administrative officer.

READ ALSO: Christie Mountain wildfire sees ‘minimal’ growth despite heavy winds

READ ALSO: Helping Christie Mountain wildfire evacuees

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki said council is grateful for the help received during the wildfire.

“On behalf of council and all our residents, we are incredibly thankful to all our partners who assisted us during this challenging time, including our local and supporting firefighters, RDOS, BC Wildfire, RCMP, Emergency Support Services and Penticton Search and Rescue, along with everyone who stepped up to get prepared and ready in the event an evacuation order had been necessary,” he said.

The fire began on the afternoon of Aug. 18 and is now at a size of 2,035 hectares. The fire is classified as active, but there have been no major flare-ups.

At present, there are 192 firefighters, 15 helicopters and eight pieces of heavy equipment at the scene.

Overnight, 32 firefighters were at the scene, with support from multiple fire departments and structure protection personnel.

However, an evacuation order and an evacuation alert remain in place for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS).

The orders and the alert were all put into place as a result of the Christie Mountain wildfire near Penticton.

The RDOS issued an evacuation order for 319 homes in the Heritage Hills area and an evacuation alert for 116 homes in the Upper Carmi area.

Speaking at a news conference in Penticton on Aug. 24, Karla Kozakevich, chair of the regional district, said there have been no new flare-ups. In addition, cooler temperatures are helping firefighters at the scene.

While the evacuation order and evacuation alert in the regional district remain in place, Kozakevich hopes they will both be rescinded within the coming days.

“Advance planning for re-entry is still underway. We must ensure the area is safe for homeowners to return, which includes assessments from geotechnical engineers to assess slope stability and retaining walls,” she said.

“We need to confirm all is safe.”

The fire has resulted in the destruction of one home in the Heritage Hills area, but the other homeowners are expected to be able to return to their properties soon.

“This is a very stressful and difficult time for those who are on alert and in particular for those of you who have been ordered out of their homes,” she said.

“We do want to get you back into your homes as quickly as possible, but it must be done safely.”

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