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

Enbridge pipeline explosion cools asphalt operations in Chilliwack

Asphalt plants across the Lower Mainland told to limit production

Chilliwack Chiefs score late to beat Vernon Vipers

Matt Holmes netted the winner with 20.5 seconds on the clock as the Chiefs rallied for a 3-2 win.

Ingenious Vedder Bridge project snags design-build award

Innovative engineering approach used to launch new bridge and demolish old one

VIDEO: Trust issue between Chilliwack council members took centre stage at Mayoral Debate

Comments from incumbent mayor about councillor earned applause, whistles, heckling and boos

Ask the Coach: Brian Maloney talks about managing a locker room

Ask the Coach is a bi-weekly feature with Chilliwack Chiefs head coach Brian Maloney.

Secret supper clubs test appetite for cannabis-infused food ahead of legalization

Chefs are eagerly awaiting pot edibles to become legal in Canada

Joint inspection planned for missing journalist at Saudi Consulate

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Washington Potst reporter Jamal Khashoggi

Sears files for bankruptcy amid plunging sales, massive debt

The company started as a mail order catalogue in the 1880s

BREAKING: Prince Harry and Meghan expecting their 1st child in spring

The announcement of the pregnancy confirms weeks of speculation from royal watchers

Students unhappy with SFU’s response after violent incident in class

Professor, students say a man threw chairs and hit a female student

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

Man struck by car in Burnaby: reports

Pedestrian was taken to hospital

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

Most Read