Forest fires are scary enough, but imagine a forest fire coming right at you when you're in prison. Right now the Eagle Bluffs B.C. forest fire is threatening over 200 inmates who live at the Okanagan Correctional Centre. An evacuation alert is in effect in Oliver, B.C., where the fire is burning just north of the town.
The Osoyoos Indian Band expanded their original evacuation alert on Tuesday to include the Senkulmen Business Park area, which is where the Okanagan Correctional Centre is located.
B.C. Corrections Communications Director Caroline McAndrews told Narcity on Wednesday that "the risk to evacuate is being monitored closely" and they have plans in place that would support any evacuations needed in response to risks like fires and floods.
B.C. Corrections confirmed that they're monitoring the situation as it develops and keeping the safety of inmates and staff as their number one priority.
Should there be an evacuation, sheriff transportation has already been arranged for the inmates. B.C. Corrections can accommodate the prisoners if they need to be transferred. That's all that the agency can confirm for now, due to their security protocols.
According to the CBC News, close to 100 high-risk inmates were already moved from the facility, with 200 remaining.
Today, BC Wildfire Services planned a "small-scale hand ignition operation" near the Gallager Lake area in hopes of removing combustible materials between the fire and the community.
It's been difficult for crews to get in to fight the fires since the ground is so steep and rocky. The fire was first discovered on Sunday, Aug. 4 and has since grown to a size of 900 hectares.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. B.C. forest fires so far in 2019 have not been as bad as last year, when the entire province declared a state of emergency.