Wildfire update: Cathedral Park evacuated and Snowy Mountain fire doubles in size

Wildfire update: Cathedral Park evacuated and Snowy Mountain fire doubles in size

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Two wildfires in the Similkameen area on Placer Mountain and Snowy Mountain (pictured) saw significant growth on Tuesday. (Vanessa Broadbent photo)

Hikers in Cathedral Provincial Park are being ordered to leave the area after the Placer Mountain Wildfire has grown in size.

Under a state of local emergency, the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) has issued an evacuation order for the Cathedral Lakes Lodge.

The Placer Mountain wildfire, which saw growth to the north and west on Tuesday, poses a heightened risk to human safety due to potential loss of road access to the Lodge, the RDOS said.

BC Parks has also closed the entire Cathedral Provincial Park and Protected Area for hiking. All guests and hikers within Cathedral Provincial Park are asked to leave the Cathedral Provincial Park area immediately.

There are currently 116 firefighters, nine helicopters and 14 pieces of heavy equipment battling the 1,521 hectare fire.

The Ashnola Forest Service Road remains closed by the Province of BC past the 25 kilometer marker.

The evacuation order does not affect additional areas along the Ashnola Forest Service Road including the Cathedral Lakes Lodge basecamp parking area, recreation sites before the 25 kilometer marker, homes near Ewart Creek Road and access to Crater Mountain.

Further east 14 kilometres south of Keremeos, the Snowy Mountain wildfire has grown to 6,155 hectares in size. On Tuesday afternoon, the fire was just over 3,000 hectares.

BC Wildfire Service said fire behaviour was extremely on Tuesday active due to wind gusts between 30 and 50 km per hour.

Today crews are working to establish heli-pads on the ridge along control lines and structure protection specialists are engaged on the fire to protect structures if necessary.

There are a total of 19 firefighters, three helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment on site.

Smoke is drifting from the incident to adjacent areas and the smoke column and open flame is visible from the surrounding communities, BC Wildfire Service says.

Yesterday 481 properties in the Cawston and Keremeos areas were placed on a precautionary evacuation alert.

A camp fire ban has been declared for the entire Kamloops Fire Centre region including the entire Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. With high temperatures, all backcountry users are asked to be extra vigilant and fire smart.

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