An Evacuation Alert has been issued for 254 properties on the west side of Lake Koocanusa from the Bailey Bridge south to the U.S. border.

“We are urging residents and campers within the Alert area to prepare and gather personal supplies should conditions worsen and an evacuation order be issued,” said RDEK Information Officer Loree Duczek.

“If you have not yet registered for the Evacuation Notification System, we urge you to do so. It will take RCMP and Search and Rescue several hours to deliver notifications throughout an Alert area of this size. By contrast those who are registered for the Notification System will know immediately, when every second counts.”

RDEK officials said anyone staying at a vacation property, second home or campground will not be eligible for ESS and will be asked to return to their primary residence if an Order is issued.

“Anyone at a vacation property or campground may wish to return to their primary residence at the Alert stage as evacuations can happen at any time during the day or night,” added Duczek.

“This is an incredibly popular recreational area and we are urging everyone – including campers – to register for the Evacuation Notification System so they will be aware if conditions change and an Order needs to be issued.”

Duczek said anyone with RVs, boats, other recreational vehicles or livestock should move them immediately.

“If an Evacuation Order needs to be issued, RVs, boats and large livestock will not be able to be moved at that time.”

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the fire is now approximately 360 hectares in size and quickly spread due to winds and gusts up to 50km/h today. The blaze is now considered a Fire of Note on the BC Wildfire website.