UPDATE: 10:40 p.m.

The Snake Road fire burning in the Lower Nicola area northwest of Merritt is now classified as being held, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

UPDATE: 9:50 p.m.

DriveBC says Highway 97 is now open between Logan Lake and BC Highway 8 in Merritt.

The wildfire is still active in the area at this time.

DriveBC is asking people to watch for crews, equipment, and heavy smoke/limited visibility.

8:25 p.m.

Evacuation orders and alerts have been issued by the Lower Nicola Indian Band near Merritt due to a fast-growing wildfire northwest of the city.

The LNIB Fire Department, Merritt Fire Department and Wildfire Services of BC, along with Aerial Support are all on site.

The band says the fire has continued to grow and has jumped Highway 97C and Mamit Lake Road.

An evacuation alert for some addresses is in place by the Lower Nicola Indian Band Chief and Council due to the wildfire, as well as evacuation orders.

An evacuation order has been given to the following addresses: Highway 97C – Addresses 2393, 2507, 2661, 2957, 2998, 2978, 2960, 2658, 2642, 2531.

And an evacuation alert has been issued to these addresses: 28 Snake Road, 26 Snake Road, 23 Snake Road, 31 Highway 8, 33 Highway 8, 2396 Highway 97C, 2428 Mamit Lake Branch Road.

6:03 p.m.

The BC Wildfire Service says a wildfire discovered near Merritt on Saturday has grown to 20 hectares in size.

Nicole Bonnett, fire information officer, said BCWS crews, the Lower Nicola fire department and Merritt Fire Rescue are all responding to the wildfire.

“There’s one piece of heavy equipment, there’s air tankers on site right now, and we have additional air support that’s on the way,” Bonnett said.

She said the fire’s growth has been influenced by heavy winds in the area.

The fire is located near the junction of Highway 97C, Highway 8 and Snake Road.

DriveBC said Highway 97C has been closed in both directions between Logan Lake and Highway 8 as crews respond to the wildfire.

ORIGINAL: 4:13 p.m.

Highway 97C near Merritt has been closed in both directions as emergency crews respond to a wildfire in the area.

According to BC Wildfire Service, the fire was discovered at about noon on Saturday, and is two hectares in size. It is suspected to have been caused by a person.

The wildfire located near Snake Road and Highway 8.

DriveBC said Highway 97C has been closed in both directions from Logan Lake to the Highway 8 junction due to the wildfire, and advised drivers to watch for first responders in the area.