B.C. wildfires prompt new evacuation orders
Wildfires prompt evacuations in Mount McAllister in northeast B.C. and Murray Lake, near Lower Mainland
Fire crews have contained a brush fire on Mount Boucherie in West Kelowna, B.C., as wildfires continue to spark evacuation orders and camp fire bans across the province.
The fire ignited on Tuesday afternoon on the west slope of the mountain, which sits near the shore of Okanagan Lake in the province's popular wine-growing region.
Firefighters, aided by by helicopter and planes, have now surrounded the fire with flame retardant, but it is still not under control, according to the District of West Kelowna.
West Kelowna Fire Rescue and BC Forestry are asking boaters on Okanagan Lake to avoid the path of helicopters filling buckets with water, as they continue to douse the flames.
It is not yet known how the fire was started. No evacuation alerts or orders are being issued at this time.
In response to the high fire risk, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued a temporary fire ban, beginning on Wednesday, applying to all open burning, including campfires and fireworks.
Meanwhile, the Coastal Fire Centre is standing down over reports of a wildfire burning in Golden Ears Provincial Park near Maple Ridge, B.C., after they sighted no flames on a helicopter flight over the area.
In the Peace River Regional District, an evacuation order has been issued for the Mount McAllister area, southwest of Hudson's Hope, as a wildfire in northeastern B.C. grows to 10,000 hectares.
The wildfire, burning 100 kilometres southwest of Fort St. John and 56 kilometres west of Chetwynd, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.
Just outside the Lower Mainland, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District has issued an evacuation alert for residents living near Murray Lake, due to an aggressive forest fire covering 60 hectares.
The fire, which was sparked by lightning, is burning between Hope and Merritt, around 238 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.
Firefighters, airtankers and helicopters have been battling the fire since it was discovered on Monday, but ground crew have now been removed due to safety concerns.
Chelaslie Arm wildfire spreading
Meanwhile, in B.C.'s northwest, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako has declared a state of local emergency as a wildfire in Chelaslie Arm grows to 13,000 hectares.
An evacuation order for Tetachuck Lake and Chelaslie River has also been expanded, through Uchu Reach to Intata Reach on Natalkuz Lake to the south side of Chelaslie.
On Monday, BC Parks closed nearby Entiako Provincial Park and issued an evacuation order for all cabin owners and all recreational users within the park.
The Chelaslie Arm wildfire, which is burning some 200 kilometres southwest of Prince George, was discovered last Tuesday and is believed to have been caused by lightning.
Campfire bans for coast and Cariboo
On B.C.'s south coast, the fire risk is high to extreme and a campfire ban has been issued throughout the entire Kamloops Fire Centre, beginning on Wednesday
The Cariboo Fire Centre has expanded its campfire ban, also beginning Wednesday, to cover the entire area.
The ban applies to open fires of any size, fires with a burn registration number, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels.
The ban does not apply to stoves or portable campfire apparatus that use gas, propane or briquettes, as long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.
In the Cariboo Regional District, the Euchiniko Lakes wildfire, also believed to have been sparked by lightning, has grown to cover 2,200 hectares since it was discovered last Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, 120 firefighters were trying to control the blaze, with six helicopters continuing to bucket the fire to support ground crews.
A local state of emergency was declared in the district and an evacuation order issued for the Euchiniko Lakes Ranch on Sunday.
Evacuation ordered in Alberta
Last week, three oil and gas worker camps were evacuated due to concerns over the spreading Red Deer Creek wildfire, which was estimated to cover 6,401 hectares on Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, the wildfire was within 10 kilometres of the Alberta border, prompting the Municipal District of Greenview to issue an evacuation order.
According to B.C.'s Wildfire Management Branch, 118 firefighters working around the clock have made great progress on the fire and are continuing to build a fireline.
There were a total of 12 wildfires listed on the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch's "wildfires of note" list Tuesday evening.
In the Prince George fire centre:
- 22km Tenakihi.
- Euchiniko Lakes.
- Forres Mountain fire.
- Mount McAllister fire.
- Mugaha fire.
- Red Deer Creek fire.
- Salmon Lake fire.
- Valley south of Morfee Lake.
In the Kamloops fire centre:
- Apex Mountain.
In the Cariboo fire centre:
- Soda Creek.
In the Northwest fire centre:
- Chelaslie Arm.
Dozens of other wildfires are also burning across the province. On Sunday, 21 firefighters from Ontario arrived in Kamloops to help support B.C.'s wildfire fighting efforts.