The Richter Mountain wildfire near Cawston as seen on July 27. (Athena Allen)

Richter Mountain wildfire hits 400 hectares due to ‘better mapping,’ but less aggressive

BC Wildfire Services says be cautious as debris and rocks falling onto Highway 3 near wildfire

The Richter Mountain wildfire near Cawston is estimated to have hit 400 hectares on Sunday.

Jody Lucius with the BC Wildfire Service said the increase in size from yesterday is mostly a result of better mapping of the fire.

“We did see a little bit of growth yesterday and limited growth overnight,” she said. “But it’s showing less aggressive behaviour today — which is a good thing. That said, we are expecting that we could get some winds this afternoon so we could see that activity pick up again this afternoon.”

READ MORE: Update: Wind pushes Richter Mountain wildfire back on itself

Currently, more than 100 personnel are on site, including nine helicopters and several pieces of heavy equipment. BCWS is expecting additional crews and heavy equipment on Monday.

The Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen issued an evacuation alert on Friday afternoon for 10 properties in the area, which is still in effect. However, the growth in the past 24-hours has been up and away from those properties, Lucius said.

BCWS also says because the wildfire is close to Highway 3, loose debris and rocks have been falling onto the highway.

READ MORE: Neighbours work to battle blaze near Cawston

“We are asking that folks in the area proceed through the area slowly but without stopping along the highway because we would hate for them to be impacted by any of that debris that’s coming down,” said Lucius.

Whether the widlfire is affecting wine tourism in the Similkameen is not clear. However, on Saturday, Seven Stones Winery in Keremeos posted on Facebook that concerns have been expressed about the Cawston wildfire and its evacuation alert.

“Not to worry, we’re open for business as usual. The firefighters seem to have it under control and the smoke is moving away from us. The road is open, so drop by and taste some amazing wines …” reads the post.

Also on Saturday, a smoky skies bulletin was released for the Similkameen area because of the wildfire. It said the region could be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours. An updated forecast for Sunday has not yet been released.

READ MORE: Smoky skies alert issued for Similkameen

To report a typo, email: [email protected].


Robin Grant
Reporter, Penticton Western News
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