B.C. wildfire evacuation notice issued for Peace River area

An evacuation order has been issued for the oil fields region of the Peace River district in B.C. due to a growing wildfire.

Wildfire caused by lightning, estimated at 1,700 hectares Tuesday evening

An evacuation order has been issued for the oilfields region of the Peace River district in B.C. due to a growing wildfire that started on the weekend by a lightning strike. (B.C. Wildfire Management Branch)

A fire evacuation order has been issued in B.C. for the gas field areas of Red Deer Creek, Ojay and Grizzly south, located southeast of Tumbler Ridge.

Around 200 people based at two oil and gas work camps in the area have been told to leave, but officials say the fire — which was triggered by lightning — is not near any homes.

Hot dry winds are expected to fuel the blaze, Jill Kelsh, fire information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch, told CBC News Tuesday afternoon.

"It's very active at this time," Kelsh said. "The last estimated size was about 650 hectares. We do expect it to grow or potentially double in size over the next 24 hours."

Since the CBC spoke to Kelsh, the fire has more than doubled in size, and as of Tuesday evening was estimated to be about 1,700 hectares.

The Peace River Regional District made the evacuation order Tuesday, specifically for the area directly south of the Wapiti River, as far west as Wapiti Provincial Park to the most southernmost boundary of the park and directly east to the Alberta border.

The order instructs anyone in the area to leave immediately, close gates — latch, but do not lock them — and take all personal items with them.

More than 70 wildfire management personnel are battling the fire, with ground crews being assisted by helicopters and airtankers.

More information can be found at the Peace River Regional District website.

With files from Meera Bains