Little Bobtail Lake fire burning over 8,000 hectares
Wildfire management branch says fire that forced 80 people from homes growing significantly
The Little Bobtail Lake fire has grown significantly in the last day burning nearly 8,000 hectares by Wednesday afternoon.
The wildfire — roughly 70 kilometres southwest of Prince George, B.C. — has already forced the evacuation of 80 people earlier this week, and close to 700 homes are in danger of being consumed if the fire spreads.
There are 120 firefighters, five helicopters and 10 pieces of heavy equipment responding to the incident today.
B.C. Wildfire Management Branch says the fire is showing unpredictable behaviour and is showing no signs of letting up.
Melissa Klassen, a spokeswoman for the Prince George Fire Centre, said the amount of wood in the region left dry and damaged by beetle kill is also fuelling the fire.
She does not expect the conditions to improve over the next few days.
"What's challenging fire suppression efforts is this is the second year in a row that we've had higher than normal drought conditions in this region which is making this fire gain momentum as it burns through these very dense forest fuel," she said."We're going to see aggressive fire behaviour most likely continue on this fire."
Klassen said airtankers have been dropping retardant to keep the fire from spreading, but the fire is blowing right past those retardant lines.
"It'll be something that we are monitoring and observing over the next couple days and sort of rearranging our tactics as far as how to best approach this fire."
Klassen says high temperatures and low humidity are part of the problem, and Environment Canada predicts the hot, dry conditions will continue into next week.
Evacuation orders were issued for properties near Little Bobtail Lake and Naltesby Lake (Bobtail Lake) by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, and for Norman Lake by the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George.
An evacuation alert was also issued for other nearby areas on Monday morning, meaning residents should be prepared to leave at a moments notice if the fire spreads.