British Columbia

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Latest communities evacuated include Telegraph Creek

The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine in northwestern B.C. has ordered two evacuations due to wildfire threats.

Campfire bans are in effect for most of the province

A B.C. Wildfire Service crew member monitors a controlled burn in the Southern Interior. (Canadian Press)

Two more communities were ordered evacuated Sunday as wildfires continue to threaten properties in northwestern British Columbia.

The B.C. Wildfire Service said 25 fires are currently burning in the Cassiar fire zone, including the Alkali and Elbow Lake wildfires.

The Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine ordered the evacuation of Telegraph Creek and the surrounding areas due to the Alkali Lake fire, which is now 2,000 hectares in size and growing.

Homes in the Elbow Lake area were also ordered evacuated because of the Elbow Creek fire, which covers 450 hectares.

Residents of both communities were told to leave their homes immediately and go to a reception centre at the People's Haven at Stikine Street in Dease Lake, across the street from the Dease Lake Community Hall.

Residents can call the centre at (250) 771-5577.

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako also issued an evacuation order Sunday evening for two properties near Tchentlo Lake, north of Burns Lake, which are threatened by the Purvis Lake wildfire.

'Real threat'

Wildfire service spokesperson Carolyn Bartos said Sunday afternoon that the evacuation for Telegraph Creek was a precautionary measure, but there is concern for the 300 or so people living there.

"Certainly the fire is growing in size and moving towards Telegraph Creek," Bartos said. "There's a real threat to the town."

She said there are 55 firefighters attacking the blaze with the help of helicopters and heavy equipment and more resources are on the way.

Chief Rick Mclean of Tahltan First Nation, which has band offices in Telegraph Creek, reiterated that the order was proactive in nature in a Facebook video.

He urged residents to drive cautiously on local roads which might become congested with firefighting vehicles rolling in.

Drought a factor in fires

"Firefighting efforts throughout the Cassiar fire zone are proving to be very difficult due to high drought codes," a statement from the service read. "Based on 31 years of data, the drought codes are the highest they've ever been at this time of year."

Drought codes, the statement explained, numerically measure moisture content in soils to predict wildfire risks. Higher numbers indicate a greater risk of fire.

Other updates

  • On Friday night, an evacuation order came into effect for two properties in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.
  • Campfire bans are in effect across the entire province except in the Prince George area.
  • The B.C. Wildfire Service estimates 27 per cent of the 1,260 wildfires in the province since April 1 have been caused by human activity.

Evacuation orders and alerts:

For the latest wildfire information, visit:

B.C. Wildfire Service
Emergency Info B.C.

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