B.C.'s Wildfire Management branch says nearly two dozen firefighters and two helicopters have been sent to battle a 20 hectare wildfire, 15 kms northwest of Lillooet in the area of Bridge River.

Four homes have been evacuated as a precaution.

Kamloops Fire Centre information officer Kayla Pepper says fire crews were called to the Bridge River area around 4 p.m. PT Monday.

Pepper says the Kamloops Fire Centre, the most active in the province, has had 34 fires since April 1 or about double the usual number.  Nearly all of them, she says, were caused by humans.

"It is dry out there and there has been a fair amount of wind throughout the Interior and Okanagan," she said.

Pepper says fire crews will likely have their hands full with lightning-initiated fires as the season progresses and would like to see human-caused fires kept to a minimum.

People asked to be careful

She says it's a good reminder to people enjoying the outdoors to be careful.

Despite the greater than usual number of fires, Pepper says it's too early to say much about the potential intensity of this year's fire season.


In 2009, strong winds fueled this fire in the Bridge River Valley west of Lillooet, the same area where a wildfire broke out Monday afternoon. (PhotosCanada.com)

Typically, we look at the amount of precipitation we get in June as an indicator for how intense fire season will be later into the year," she said.

Pepper says there are two other large fires in the south Okanagan, one burning southeast of Keremeos and the Inkameep fire.

She says the Inkameep fire is an estimated 80 hectares in size.  Smoke from that fire, she says, will be visible from Osoyoos and Oliver, B.C. for at least a couple of days.

MAP: Bridge River, Lilooet, B.C.