Canada–– CALGARY – About 1,550 residents of Peachland, B.C., were forced to flee their homes when a forest fire erupted near the Okanagan town Sunday.
A state of emergency was declared and an evacuation order and alert were put in place by Sunday evening after the Trepanier Forest Fire, growing to 170 hectares in size, broke out about 3 p.m.
Kari O’Rourke, public information officer with the Emergency Operations Centre, said 593 homes, equating to about 950 people in Peachland and the Trepanier Bench area, and 375 houses, or about 600 residents, south of the Trepanier area were put under evacuation order, including the Ponderosa Golf Club.
The area also includes Peachland Elementary School, which will be closed until further notice.
Evacuated residents were asked to report to one of two Emergency Support Services reception centres.
About 432 people in the downtown and waterfront areas of Peachland were also put on evacuation alert and told to be prepared to leave their homes with short notice.
Crews from B.C. Wildfire Management, Kelowna and West Kelowna, Peachland, were fighting the flames through the night but were unsure of what caused the massive blaze.