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PHOTOS: White Rock Lake wildfire lights up night skies in the Okanagan

The 55,000-hectare wildfire caused thousands of evacuations Friday night, even more on alert

The White Rock Lake wildfire continues to burn out of control at an estimated 55,000 hectares, growing more by more than 20,000 hectares in the past two days and prompting thousands of more evacuations in the Okanagan on Friday night.

Structure protection crews were patrolling as far north as Swan Lake, moving up and down the evacuated areas on Westside Road through the night while winds of up to 40 km/h challenged suppression efforts.

READ MORE: White Rock Lake wildfire grows to 55,000 hectares; Vernon, Coldstream, RDNO areas on alert

READ MORE: Nearly 1,000 Westside Road properties under evacuation as White Rock Lake wildfire rages

Evacuation orders now extend from La Casa Lakeside Resort in the Regional District of Central Okanagan through the whole of Okanagan Indian Band IR No. 1.

Evacuation alerts were also expanded, now including the entire communities of Vernon, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, Chase and surrounding areas in the Regional District of North Okanagan.

The City of Vernon’s late-night expansion to its alert area was done in an abundance of caution and was based on advice from BC Wildfire Services. *

The alert in Vernon excludes the Predator Ridge and Sparkling Hill neighbourhoods; Okanagan Landing South neighbourhoods (areas of Eastside Road, The Outback, Ellison Provincial Park Inkster, Delcliffe, Whitepoint, Smith Road, Peters Road, Kokanee/Sunset properties, Harbour Heights, Beverly Hills Estates); and the Commonage Area, south of Bench Row Road.

Through the day on Friday, the blaze was actioned by 99 wildland firefighters, 125 structure protection personnel, 13 helicopters, eight danger tree assessors/fallers and 51 pieces of heavy equipment.

Highway 97 remains closed in both directions between Pleasant Valley Road and Monte Creek, and Westside Road is closed from Pinecrest Road to Six Mile Creek Road.

READ MORE: Refusing to evacuate White Rock Lake wildfire orders ‘nothing but selfish’: OKIB Chief

READ MORE: Wildfire crews forced to rescue Monte Lake residents who ignored evacuation order

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Editor’s note: A version of this story did not include Vernon’s latest evacuation alert information and has been corrected for accuracy. Black Press apologizes for the error and any inconvenience.