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BREAKING: Shambhala Music Festival opens for last night

(UPDATE: August 13th @ 12:48 p.m.) - Shambhala Music Festival has confirmed that after a cooler night with some rain, they have been approved to remain open for the final night.

In a statement issued on their Facebook page, the festival says that although music acts might not continue as scheduled, there will be a new schedule for the evening.

They are inviting anyone with wristbands to come back to the grounds, and Sunday tickets will be available for $180 including tax.

BC RCMP have also confirmed that the Shambhala Music Festival will continue this Sunday and that the area remains under evacuation alert.

BC Wildfire reports that the fire did not see much growth overnight and that the fire is 15% contained.

(UPDATE: August 12th @ 4:15 p.m.) - Shambhala Music Festival closes one day early.

The Shambhala Music Festival is closing Saturday night instead of Sunday due to growth on the McCormick Creek fire near Salmo.

The fire has grown to an estimated 350 hectares in size and has been responsible for 39 Evacuation Orders to properties nearby.

Andrew Bellerby, Regional Fire Chief and Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) director for the Central Kootenays, spoke during a media conference on Saturday afternoon, explaining how the decision to close the festival early was made.

The McCormick Creek fire started on Wednesday and several agencies had been monitoring the fire's behaviour since then.

"In the last 24 hours the fire took a turn to the east and we had to put 39 properties in the Nelway area are on Evacutation Order and the border crossing is closed," said Bellerby.

"Once the properties went on Evacuation Order, that was a trigger point for the EOC to put Shambhala Music Festival on Alert."

The Evacuation Alert was announced Saturday morning and for the rest of the day, the EOC has been meeting with the RCMP, BC Emergency Services, the BC Ministry of Transportation and the Shambhala Music Festival organizers to come up with a plan.

"The decision was made that the festival would close one day early. So normally the festival would close tomorrow night, which is Sunday night. The last evening will be Saturday night which is tonight," said Bellerby.

"It was a hard decision for the Shambhala festival organizers to take, however they accepted the emergency management professionals' decision.

Earlier on Saturday, crews gathered to build an emergency exit bridge.

Jimmy Bundschuh, is the organizer of the Shambhala Music Festival.

"We had those meetings this morning and had reports that things were getting worse, so we decided to act on the advice and notify our guests to make plans to depart the site tomorrow," he said.

"We've also notified people that we will not be continuing any programming of music for tomorrow."

"Our hope is that our guests get prepared today possibly get things packed before they go to bed tonight so that when they leave the festival site they're well-rested and can have a safe exit."

In 2010, more than 10,000 people attended the festival and this year, organizers were expecting even bigger numbers.

With just one road in and out of the festival, the organizers and emergency management officials have taken precautions to make sure everyone can get out safely.

(Original Story: August 12th @ 11:00 a.m.)

On Saturday morning the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) issued an Evacuation Alert for the area of the Shambhala Music Festival.

The Evacuation Alert is due to a fire at McCormick Creek that has grown to 250 hectares in size and has jumped the Salmo River, moving closer to the music festival, as well as the community of Nelway.

Regional fire chief for the Central Kootenays, Andrew Bellerby, said the Shambhala Music Festival was put under an Evacuation Alert on Saturday because of some properties nearby being impacted by wildfires.

The interface fire is located about 20 kilometres south of Salmo in the Pend d'Oreille area.

Bellerby said the festival was put under Alert because the wildfire was impacting properties nearby.

Bellerby said the emergency services are meeting at 11:30 a.m. to come up with a plan, in hopes of avoiding an Evacuation Order of the festival if possible.

"I've had some preliminary talks with the Shambhala festival owner and they're coming back to talk at 11:30 a..m. to meet with the Fire Centre, RCMP, BC paramedics Services and we will have more information on what's going to happen."

<who> Photo Credit: BC Wildfire Service

"We're not looking at an Evacuation Order because it will cause pandemonium," he added.

Bellerby said an update should be available by noon.

#shamshquad #shambhala

A post shared by kevin (@kevind77) on

The Southeast Fire Centre is advising the public to visit the RDCK website for the most up-to-date information or call 250-352-7701.

Festival attendees should also expect to see more smoke during peak heat times between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

At the site of the McCormick Creek fire, there are currently 27 wildfire personnel, four helicopters and six pieces of heavy equipment, along with air skimmers and air tankers when visibility permits.



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