British Columbia

Village of Cache Creek evacuated due to Ashcroft wildfire

The village of Cache Creek, B.C., has been ordered evacuated as a wildfire that started near Ashcroft spreads out of control.

Dozens of homes destroyed including 30 trailers and 2 hangars

Several buildings have burned down as a result of the fire near Ashcroft, B.C. (Jason Cameron/Facebook)

The village of Cache Creek, B.C., has been ordered evacuated as a wildfire that started near Ashcroft spreads out of control.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District in the B.C. Interior has declared a local state of emergency, forcing the evacuation of approximately 1,000 Cache Creek residents from their homes.

"I don't think it's entirely inaccurate to say we've never seen anything like this before," said Mayor John Ranta. "It's a very serious situation."

A prior evacuation order was issued for homes in the area between Cache Creek and Ashcroft.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says the blaze grew to 700 hectares from 50 hectares in just a few hours Friday afternoon.

The fire began northwest of Ashcroft, near the Ashcroft Indian Band, and spread north.

Ranta said 30 trailer homes and two hangars by the village's airport have been destroyed. Another three or four homes belonging to the Ashcroft Indian Band, he said, are also believed to have burned down.

At this point, Ranta said, most neighbourhoods are not under imminent threat, but everyone has been evacuated from the village in the interest of public safety.

A driver passing through the Ashcroft area tweeted this photo showing heavy smoke billowing from the wildfire. (@theofaber/Twitter)

B.C.'s chief fire information officer, Kevin Skrepnek, said 48 firefighters were battling the blaze with the help of several aircraft.

Major roads heading into the village have been closed in both directions, including Highway 1 and Highway 97C, according to Drive BC.

BC Hydro said power is still out in the area for more than 1,300 people, although some of those have evacuated from their homes.

The fire broke out yesterday but was estimated at only 2.1 hectares this morning.

Ashcroft resident Jennifer Schell said she and her husband watched the fire grow "right outside" of her house through the course of the afternoon.

"It's just eating up the mountainside right now," she said.

Water bombers and a helicopter have been circling above the fire, she said.

"There are a couple houses over there, so we're hoping and praying that everyone is OK and safe."

About 20 kilometres away, the owner of a ranch has been accepting horses from evacuees.

Cynthia Nichols from Sundance Guest Ranch said four horses were dropped off.

"I'm hoping to get no more, because that means people are OK," she said.

Despite being a considerable distance away, she said the air in the area smells like smoke.