British Columbia

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Local state of emergency declared on Vancouver Island

The Regional District of Nanaimo has declared a local state of emergency because of a growing wildfire. Navigate the CBC's interactive map for the full wildfire picture across the province.

Personnel from Mexico and New Zealand flying in to support efforts as wildfire season heats up

At noon on Monday, the Nanaimo Lakes wildfire was estimated at 50 hectares in size, but it had more than doubled by evening, prompting a local state of emergency and an evacuation order. (B.C. Wildfire Service.)

A growing wildfire west of Nanaimo, B.C., has prompted the regional government to declare a local state of emergency, and the evacuation of a number of homes Monday night.

The Nanaimo Lakes wildfire was last estimated at 107 hectares, more than doubling in size in just a few hours, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.

The Regional District of Nanaimo declared a local state of emergency Monday at 7:45 p.m PT., and said residents of some homes to the west of the blaze have been ordered to leave. Another 77 homes are on evacuation alert. 

Reinforcements arrive

As the wildfire season continues to intensify, international crews are arriving in B.C. to help fight wildfires across the province. 

The wildfire service says that 60 personnel from Mexico and 60 more from New Zealand are set to arrive in the province on Monday.

Crews from Australia are scheduled to arrive later in the week.

Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek said international crews are a mix of "on-the-ground firefighters and highly specialized personnel."

"This will be crucial to maintain not only our ability to respond right now but also casting out that we're not really seeing relief in sight for the weather, ensuring that we have enough resources to get us through the rest of the summer," he said.

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

Though the chance of lightning strikes has diminished, hot, dry conditions could stoke existing fires, Skrepnek said.

"We might not necessarily be seeing as many new fires starting on a day-to-day basis with that lightning starting to die out, but with the weather that we've got in the forecast, these fires are likely going to remain quite active," he said.

  • The most significant fire in B.C. remains the Snowy Mountain fire, covering more than 120 square kilometres — roughly the area of the City of Vancouver. It did not grow overnight.
  • The B.C. Wildfire Service said 25 fires are currently burning in the Cassiar fire zone, including the Alkali and Elbow Lake wildfires.
  • On Sunday, 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 7,800 hectares (78 square kilometres) in size and growing. This order affects around 300 residents. Firefighters said they made little progress on the fire Monday.

  • The Alkali Lake blaze is just one of nine wildfires in a complex burning near Telegraph Creek and Dease Lake. Another is the South Stikine River fire, which jumped the river on Monday and is now estimated at 6,000 hectares, or 60 square kilometres.
  • Homes in the Elbow Lake area were also ordered evacuated because of the Elbow Lake fire, which covers almost 670 hectares (6.7 square kilometres).
  • 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.
  • Highway 51 is currently closed from Dease Lake to Telegraph Creek Road due to wildfire.

  • Campfire bans are in effect across the entire province except in the Prince George area.
  • The B.C. Wildfire Service estimates about a third of the 1,468 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.

Read more from CBC British Columbia

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.