Highway 97 near Okanagan Falls reopened after brushfire closes the route

Highway 97 has reopened at the Okanagan waterfalls, 20 kilometers south of Penticton, after it was closed due to a paintbrush outside the community.

B.C. Wildfire Service spokesperson Nicole Bonnett said that provincial crews were summoned by the local authorities at around 4:00 PM. At that time it was estimated that it was about one hectare.

A few hours later the nature fire brigade estimated that it had grown to seven hectares.

"The South Okanagan … has seen the least amount of precipitation," Bonnett said. "So it's still pretty dry there."

Smoke waves from a brush fire near Okangan Falls, B.C. (Will Smit)

The fire is on the highway, west of Okanagan Falls, Bonnett said. It is separated from the main city by the Okanagan River.

She added that no structures are threatened by the fire and that no evacuation warnings or orders have been issued. Firefighters, air tankers and two helicopters fight against the flames.

Bonnett said the fire seems to be caused by human activity, and researchers will examine the scene.

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