Update (5:47 pm). . . The Desert Pines neighborhood is now under siege by a wildfire that started at about 3 p.m. Helicopters are dropping one load after another on the north side of the Trepanier Creek gorge as flames move up the hillside toward homes on Desert Pines Avenue.
Update (5:41 pm). . . Mayor Keith Fielding told reporters that 1,500 homes are on evacuation order in Peachland. Police are allowing some vehicles with horse trailers up onto the top of Trepanier Bench to evacuate horses and other animals.
Update (5:36 pm). . . Police are in the process of closing Hwy. 97 at Princeton Avenue and at the Connector (Hwy. 97C). Smoke is very thick and visibility is very limited on the highway.
Update (5:27 pm). . . The massive Peachland wildfire has crested the top of the hill and is now at the Ponderosa Golf course, putting homes in the Ponderosa area at risk.
Traffic on Hwy. 97 is in gridlock as evacuees try to get out.
Update (5:17 pm). . . While residents of the Trepanier area of Peachland were being evacuated, a steady stream of horse trailers was seen heading up Trepanier Road to rescue stranded horses.
Numerous helicopters and aerial tankers are dropping everyhting they’ve got on the massive fire but the winds have the upper hand at the moment.
Peachland is in serious crisis.
by Dave Preston
Chaos is reigning in Peachland as a massive wildfire tears through the Trepanier Bench area and now threatens the Ponderosa and Desert Pines areas.
Some buildings have most certainly been lost as enormous black plumes of smoke join a wall of smoke that is pouring across the Trepanier area of Peachland.
People in the Paradise valley and the Trepanier Bench area have been evacuated.
Firefighters are being sent in to Peachland from throughout the Okanagan Valley.