Bush Creek East wildfire prompts more Shuswap evacuations

Over a dozen properties were evacuated in the Shuswap region on Tuesday night as crews dealt with increased fire activity from the Bush Creek East blaze.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District says everyone who was told to leave followed the order and made their way out — all 14 properties had previously been on evacuation alert.

As of Wednesday, evacuation orders cover over 3,600 properties within the district.

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The BC Wildfire Service says the Bush Creek East fire — part of the Adams Lake fire complex — grew slightly overnight to prompt these evacuations.

Fire Information Officer Mike McCauley explains that crews were doing prep work while going through a warm and dry period before conditions got any worse.

“Graciously, yesterday we were spared from any significant wind on the Bush Creek East wildfire … that was good news for us,” he said.

“We did have winds this morning, which caused some growth in the Turtle Valley area into the Sorrento area and caused some of our other flights to be a little more active than normal but not major growth on the other portions.”

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McCauley says the Turtle Valley and Sorrento area continue to be the BC Wildfire Service’s main concern in the region.

Since the fire was first discovered west of Adams Lake on July 12, it has damaged at least 170 properties. The blaze has since joined with the Lower East Adams Lake fire and moved in all directions, forcing evacuations in places south of its origin point — like Chase, Turtle Valley, and Sorrento — even closing part of Highway 1 at times and threatening to cut off several small lakeside communities.

McCauley adds that the fire is continuing to move down the hill near Sorrento, and is very visible from the highway and other nearby communities.

Recent data shows that the fire is estimated as being 43,067 hectares in size. It is believed to have started because of a lightning strike or other natural causes.

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