Written by Fatima Hasan

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Shambhala, which has drawn more than 10,000 festival-goers in prior years, began Friday, August 11. An evacuation alert has been issued for the festival on Saturday morning after the McCormick Creek wildfire jumped the Salmo River. The fire is allegedly headed toward the festival grounds, located in Salmo, British Columbia. Festival organizers have been attempting to keep attendees calm after the alert was broadcast for the areas surrounding southern B.C.

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Update around 1pm on Saturday, August 12

Since there is only one road that connects the festival to the highway, additional safety measures have been sought as footbridge has been installed over the Salmo River to provide another way for people to exit the festival grounds if need be. As of Saturday morning, reports stated that the McCormick Creek fire reached a square mile in size. Firefighters, helicopters, and heavy equipment are currently battling the flames, and the regional district says that the wildfire is “behaving unpredictably.”

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The regional district advised festival-goers to make sure they leave with enough time to return home safely. Amid the news, festival organizers have released a statement saying that attendees should be ready in case of a mandatory evacuation, including discussing travel options with friends, leaving early, and ensuring that there is a well-rested designated driver present.

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The event runs through Sunday night, and attendees are supposed to start cleaning up and leaving the festival grounds Monday morning. Officials claim the process took nearly eight hours last year, but it is believed it could be done more quickly if necessary.