The Diamond Creek Fire crossed the US border sometim overnight Aug. 30. This photo was taken Aug. 30 at around 2 p.m. from near the 60-kilometre mark on the Ashnola Road, near Keremeos.

Massive cross-border wildfire growing rapidly

Canadian portion of Diamond Creek Fire grows to 1,700 hectares, forced closure of Cathedral Park.

The Diamond Creek Fire that started in the US and crossed into Canada sometime over the last 24 hours is growing at a rapid rate.

The Canadian portion of the fire has grown to more than 1,700 hectares in size since nightfall Tuesday.

Related: Massive US fire crosses into Canada

The fire is burning about 17 kilometres northeast of East Gate in Manning Park and 50 kilometres southwest of Keremeos.

“BC Wildfire Service is currently assessing what values are threatened and are currently assessing how to tackle this,” said Justine Hunse, fire officer for BC Wildfire Service.

As a precautionary measure the province has ordered the closure and evacuation of Cathedral Provincial Park near Keremeos.

The Diamond Creek Fire started July 23 and has consumed more than 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres)of Pasayten Wilderness in Washington State. The fire has been deemed to be human caused.

Glenda Patterson, owner of the Cathedral Lakes Lodge located in the provincial park said she was told about the closure and evacuation order around 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Her staff has been working to evacuate the park since.

“BC Parks and the people who are contracted to run the park were all over the trails today finding people and telling them they had to leave,” Patterson said. “This is very much a precautionary measure. We don’t want people panicking thinking the lodge is burning down.”

People started coming down from the park at about 12 p.m.

Patterson estimated there was about 60 people in the park at the time of the evacuation including campers at the provincial park, guests and staff of the lodge.

The lodge has rights to the main road up to Cathedral Provincial Park. The only way up by car is in one of the lodge’s vehicles. The lodge keeps track of all people that get a ride into the park.

Patterson said she did not know if anyone hiked up into the park recently.

“We’re grateful they gave notice on the Wednesday and not the Friday of the long weekend,” she said. “We’re very happy to evacuate campers and guests in an orderly way.”

She guessed the remaining staff at the lodge and campground would be down by 6 p.m.

Patterson said the closure is a big hit to her business which was already experiencing a significant decrease in guests because of the wildfires burning around the province.

About 28 guests were booked at the lodge for the long weekend and more than 40 campers were expected at the campground.

“We didn’t think we would have an August like this but people just stopped coming to the Interior. It’s been slow. I think anyone that is running a tourist operation in the Interior would say that to you,” she said.

Patterson said September is usually a full month for guests as weather is still very nice.

“We certainly don’t want anyone to panic. We’re hoping this fire is contained quickly and we’re able to get back to the lodge,” she said.

Robert Turner, assistant deputy minister of Emergency Management BC, said in a provincial wildfire call Wednesday the decision to close the park was in consultation with BC Wildfire Service.

“This closure is also, of course, for the safety of the first responders and to ensure the resources currently fighting wildfires across the province do not have to be diverted away from protecting homes in communities.”

At this point the Canadian Armed Forces have not been called in to help with the Diamond Creek Fire.

We will update this story as more information comes available.

 

The Canadian portion of the Diamond Creek Fire has grown to 1,700 hectares in the last 24 hours. (photo from the Diamond Creek Fire facebook page).

The red marker is roughly where the Diamond Creek fire has crossed the border. (google maps)

Just Posted

Peeved with speeding drivers

The owner of property spanning Highway 97A near Mara is done with having to repair her fence.

One fatality in Highway 97 collision in Vernon

Two vehicles involved in crash that has halted traffic

Mr. Mikes to open in place of Urban Market

Restaurant expected to be open by the summer

It’s all in the black for Roots & Blues

While they didn’t rake in the dough, the 2017 event made a modest profit

Accused Shuswap drug smuggler pleads not guilty in U.S. court

Colin Martin continues to fight allegations relating to cross-border drug smuggling operation

What’s happening

Find out about events happening in your community this weekend

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Snow warning in effect for the Coquihalla

A snowfall warning is in effect from Hope to Merritt as slush and snow is expected on highways this weekend

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

Most Read