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Highway 97 fully reopened overnight below Peachland wildfire

The fire broke out south of Peachland just after 9:30 a.m. Monday.

UPDATE: June 29, 6:12 a.m.

Highway 97 reopened fully overnight below the scene of a wildfire above Highway 97, south of Peachland.

DriveBC reports the highway fully opened shortly before 10 p.m.

The highly visible blaze grew to 1.8 hectares in size before it was brought under control Monday evening.

As of 8:45 p.m., it was deemed 100 per cent contained and not expected to grow any further.

Local fire crews and BC Wildfire Service personnel battled the flames along with air support from tankers and helicopters.

The wildfire service has named the fire the Log Chute blaze.

The blaze broke out Monday morning amid the continuing heat wave that is gripping B.C.

Temperatures are expected to get even hotter today, with the Environment Canada forecast calling for a high of 43 C.

Castanet will update with the latest information from the wildfire service on this fire and others throughout the day.

UPDATE: 12:30 p.m.

Highway 97 has now reopened to single-lane alternating traffic.

Motorists should still expect significant delays while moving through the area.

Fire crews continue to made significant progress on the fire and appear to be mopping up.

UPDATE: 11:50 a.m.

Fire activity has subsided significantly as helicopters continue to hit the blaze from the sky.

The fire has been reduced to a smouldering ground fire and tankers are no longer at the scene.

An RCMP officer at the scene tells Castanet they are hoping to have the highway reopened to single-lane alternating traffic in 15 to 20 minutes.

UPDATE: 11:06 a.m.

The BC Wildfire Service is battling a blaze that broke out south of Peachland just after 9:30 a.m. Monday. The fire has grown quickly to .03 hectares.

There are 10 BC Wildfire Service personnel on the scene as well as local fire department crews for support. Three air tankers are hitting the fire with retardant and three helicopters are standing by to drop water using buckets once the tankers have completed their task.

"We are hitting it pretty hard and we are confident we are getting the upper hand," says BC Wildfire spokesperson Madison Smith.

Smith says no structures are threatened but the highway is expected to remain closed until the fire is considered held or under control.

UPDATE: 10:54 a.m.

West Kelowna RCMP advise motorists to avoid Highway 97 south, which is closed near the intersection of Brent Road in Peachland due to a wildfire near the highway. 

"The length of the closure is unknown at this time. We are asking everyone to remain away from this area while personnel and equipment is in the area."

UPDATE: 10:30 a.m.

Municipal fire crews have now handed command of the fire over to the BC Wildfire Service.

Municipal firefighters are remaining at the scene in support of the provincial teams. Helicopters are actively bucketing the fire, which is burning on very steep terrain.

BC Emergency Health Services is also responding to the area for a report of a vehicle in the ditch off the highway south of the fire zone.

UPDATE: 10:15 a.m.

Air support from the BC Wildfire Service has now arrived on scene and is attacking the fire.

Motorists on Highway 97 are now being turned around, suggesting the closure will be lengthy.

The fire has continued to burn up the hill out of range of hose lines, but toward an area that was burned in 2018 by the Mount Eneas wildfire.

ORIGINAL: June 28, 9:50 a.m.

Highway 97 is now closed due to a brush fire between Peachland and Summerland.

Eyewitnesses report the fire is running up the side of the hill and has tripled in size since it started a short time ago.

Fire crews are working on a brush fire off Highway 97 south of Peachland.

Glen and Lisa Galley tell Castanet they were floating in Okanagan lake near the Peachland marina when they spotted the smoke. Fire crews have called in helicopter support from Kelowna and Penticton.

"We don't see any air support yet but there are lots of fire trucks running along the highway."

The fire is burning up towards the area burned by the 2018 Mount Eneas fire, which will likely significantly slow its growth.

This is a developing story and we will update as more information becomes available. Castanet has a reporter en route.

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