Highway 3 near Rock Creek re-opened to traffic; West Rock Creek fire now estimated at 3,750 hectares
Traffic is once again flowing on the southern highway route through BC after officials re-opened Highway 3 between Midway and Osoyoos late Saturday.
The road had been closed to traffic due to the West of Rock Creek Wildfire.
Drive BC now reports the road is re-opened from 14 kilometers east of Osoyoos to Midway.
However, there remains a 50-kilometer speed limit. Motorists are urged to watch out for debris on the road.
Highway 33 from Rock Creek to Beaverdell remains closed due to thick smoke and the wildfires that pose a threat and safety to drivers heading to and from the Central Okanagan.
Motorists trying to get to the Okanagan from the West Kootenays had been forced to take Highway 6 through Nakusp and the Needles Ferry at Fauquier.
Traffic waits at the ferry from the south were pegged between four to seven hours.
Another route drivers were using was Highway 23 from Nakusp to Revelstoke, via the Galena Bay Ferry.
The Galena Bay Ferry was pressed into 24-hour service to deal with the increased traffic.
For more driving information go to Drive BC website.
The West of Rock Creek interface wildfire has grown to an estimated 3,750 hectares. The BC Wildfire Service says the fire is zero percent contained.
“The cause of this wildfire is under investigation, but it is suspected to be human-caused,” said a release on the Southeast Fire Centre website.
“All human-caused wildfires are preventable and unnecessarily divert firefighting resources from naturally occurring fires.
“The Southeast Fire Centre is urging everyone to be cautious when in the backcountry and refrain from any activities that may cause a wildfire.”
The BC Wildfire Service said the West of Rock Creek fire remains uncontained and extremely dangerous.
“Anyone entering the evacuation area will be putting themselves and firefighters at risk,” the Southeast Fire Centre said.
“This area contains multiple potential hazards, including active wildfire, “danger trees” (trees whose root systems have been weakened by fire activity), heavy equipment use and downed power lines.”
The Southeast Fire Centre has responded to 46 new fires since Thursday, almost all of which are believed to be lightning-caused.
As well there has been a smoky skies advisory for the southern areas of the Okanagan, Boundary and Kootenay regions, spanning the communities of: Oliver, Osoyoos, Rock Creek, Grand Forks, Castlegar and Creston.
These areas are affected by local and trans-boundary smoke from forest fires burning in the region and south of the border. Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change.