Hot dry conditions and high winds allowed a wildfire burning near some oil and gas operations in northeastern B.C to double in size overnight, fire officials have confirmed.
The Red Deer Creek fire southeast of Tumbler Ridge grew to roughly 31 square kilometres overnight Tuesday and fire officials say it is expected to expand more today.
Already about 200 people from two oil and gas work camps have already been forced from the area, but no homes are threatened by the fire, according to Jill Kelsh, a fire information officer with the Prince George Fire Centre.
"At this point, the camps are our main value. Other than that, there are a couple of oil and gas values — oil heads and things like that. As far as homes, we don't have any homes that are anywhere near this fire."
Kelsh says the winds made it too dangerous for crews to fight the head of the wildfire.
"We had crews only on the west flank and so it's still unsafe to put them at the head of the fire. The head of the fire is still very active and therefore still growing," said Kelsh on Wednesday morning.
Up to 70 firefighters, five helicopters and four air tankers are fighting the wildfire, which was sparked by a lightning strike on Sunday.
The fire evacuation order was issued by the Peace River Regional District on Tuesday 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 information can be found at the Peace River Regional District website.