Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Evacuation order issued for parts of Osoyoos as growing wildfire crosses Canada-U.S. border

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and Town of Osoyoos issued an evacuation order Saturday evening for 732 properties in and around Osoyoos as a response to an out-of-control fire that has reached over the U.S.-Canada border.

The Eagle Bluff fire is burning about four kilometres from the town of Osoyoos in B.C.’s southern Interior and is considered to be a wildfire of note. 

Previous wildfire updates called the Canadian side the Lone Pine Creek fire. But both sides of the wildfire are now being referred to as the Eagle Bluff fire. 

The evacuation order covers the area north of the border to the intersection of Highway 97 and Highway 3, as well as west and north along Highway 3. On Sunday morning, the rest of the town, which has around 5,000 residents, was placed on evacuation alert.

Two vector maps show a large region just above the U.S. border, to the south and west of Osoyoos, highlighted in red.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued evacuation orders for hundreds of properties on Saturday night due to the Eagle Bluffs wildfire. (Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen)

An evacuation alert means residents should prepare to evacuate their homes, possibly with little to no notice. An evacuation order means a resident should leave immediately.

The fire sent a growing plume of smoke that was visible over Osoyoos Lake on Saturday afternoon.

B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS) says the Eagle Bluff fire is now burning over an area of 8.8 square kilometres on the Canadian side, while the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WSDNR) estimates the U.S. portion is over 32.37 square kilometres in size as of Sunday morning, with significant growth observed overnight. 

A plane flies over Osoyoos Lake.
An American air tanker scooped water on the United States end of Osoyoos Lake on Saturday as a wildfire originating in Washington state grew over the border, prompting an evacuation alert for the town of Osoyoos and surrounding areas. (Submitted by Helen Bobbitt)

On Saturday afternoon, BCWS confirmed the fire had crossed the U.S.-Canada border. 

BCWS says they are in close communication with WSDNR fire services to collaborate on fires close to the U.S.-Canada border.

  • This week on Cross Country Checkup, our Ask Me Anything segment looks at what you can do to adapt your home to the realities of climate change. What questions do you have?  Fill out the details on this form to get your questions in early.

The town of Osoyoos issued a statement Saturday evening requesting residents reduce water usage to ensure the town’s reservoirs are available for the fire department.

A state of local emergency was declared for the town late on Saturday night. Evacuees are being told to head to the Community Centre in nearby Oliver, B.C., located at 6359 Park Drive.

A plume of smoke over a lake with a mountain.
The Lone Pine Creek wildfire, which is the Canadian section of the Eagle Bluff fire originating in Washington, was burning just five kilometres from Osoyoos on Saturday, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. (Submitted by Helen Bobbitt)

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