Residents living in the vicinity of Beatton Airport Road near Fort. St. John in northeastern B.C. have been asked to leave their homes immediately due to the threat of wildfire.

Meanwhile, the City of Fort St. John has opened an emergency service centre at the North Peace Arena to help those displaced by the Beatton Airport Road wildfire.

The evacuation order, issued by the Peace River Regional District on Sunday just before 6 p.m. PT, affects about 130 properties. Another 95 are under evacuation alert. The region has also declared a state of emergency. 

Later on Sunday it also revised an evacuation alert for properties at risk from the Siphon Creek wildfire, of which 45,000 hectares is in B.C. and another 16,600 are in Alberta.

The province said in a release that smoke is visible in much of Peace Region.

"Weather will continue to be hot and sunny with very low relative humidity today, but winds are expected to shift again tomorrow," it said. "This will likely result in increased fire behaviour and potentially increased fire growth."

The BC Wildfire Service said it advised the district to make the order because of the forecast, which has the potential to push the Beatton Airport Road fire in the direction of the areas listed below.

The service said it has employed 110 firefighters, 13 helicopters and seven pieces of heavy equipment to battle the blaze. 

 "We were doing planned ignitions on the fire to strengthen our containment line and we are making some good progress on certain flanks on the fire," spokeswoman Noelle Kekula said. 

"These timber types make it difficult and with these winds and the hot dry conditions," she added. "It does make it difficult and we want to be sure that you know we're doing it right and people are safe in case these winds pick up."

On May 5, an evacuation order was issued for 45 homes in the same general area because of the same fire, which wildfire officials say is now 15,000 hectares in size and 45 per cent contained.

The evacuation order is is effect from approximately Mile 77 on the Alaska Highway where it meets Kitt Road, northwest approximately nine kilometres and then northeast to junction of the Beatton Airport Road and Aitken Creek Road, east along the Buick Creek Road to the Prespatou Road, south along the Prespatou Road to just south of the 264 Road and generally west to the Alaska Highway.

It includes all properties along the following roads:

  • Prespatou Road from just south of the junction with the 264 Road to just north of the Buick Creek Road.
  • Buick Creek Road from Prespatou Road to Beatton Airport Road.
  • From approximately 8km on the Beatton Airport Road to the junction with Aitken Creek Road.
  • Museum Road, Museum Way, Rodeo Road, Wurzburger Avenue, Otto Avenue and Elevator Road.
  • Blueberry Res Road and Carter Road off of the Buick Creek Road.
  • 272 Road off of the Prespatou Road.
  • 277 Road off of the 272 Road.
  • 277 Road and 281 Road off of the 264 Road.
  • 264 Road off of the 279 Road.
  • Kitt Road, Evergreen Road, and Letkiman Avenue.

Also on Sunday, officials issued an evacuation alert for all properties east from the junction of the Prespatou Road and Buick Creek Road to the Beatton River, south along the Beatton River to just south of the 264 Road, west along the 264 to just east of the Prespatou Road and then north to the junction of the Prespatou Road and Buick Creek Road.

It also includes all properties on the following roads:

  •  264 Road east of the Prespatou Road.
  •  269 Road, 267 Road, 263 Road and 259 Road off of the 264 Road.
  •  266 Road, 268 Road, 270 Road off of the Rose Prairie Road.
  •  267 Road, 269 Road and Bergen Road off of the Rose Prairie Road.
  • Berrensheim Road off of Bergen Road.

Properties on evacuation alert due to the Siphon Creek fire are just west of the Siphon Creek Road to the Doig River, north along the Doig River to the junction of the Doig River and the Doig Road, to approximately 23 km north, then directly east to the Alberta border and south approximately 42 km, then west to just past the junction of the Siphon Creek Road.

They also include:

  • Siphon Creek Road going north and starting just south of the 254 Road.
  • 254 Road, Shoaf Road, 243 Road, Osborn Dump Road, Osborn Road, Buekert Avenue and 268 Road off of the Siphon Creek Road.
  • Doig Road from the Siphon Creek Road to the Doig River First Nation Reserve.
  • 256 Road between 221 Road and 211 Road.
  • 221 Road and 211 Road just north of the 252 Road.