Wildfire forces evacuations south of Ashcroft
177 wildfires in B.C. since April 1, all but two caused by human error
A rapidly growing wildfire in a rural area near Ashcroft, B.C., has forced the evacuation of about 50 homes.
The Spatsum Creek fire — about 70 km west of Kamloops and about 10 km south of Ashcroft — is 1,100 hectares, more than doubling in size since Saturday due to winds fanning the flames.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation order Sunday night for properties in the area known as Blue Sky Country.
The evacuation order excludes the Village of Ashcroft itself, but covers all properties from the northeast tip of Barnes Lake — including properties on Barnes Lake Road, YD Ranch Road and Studhorse Road — west to the Thompson River, south to Basque, east to Highway 97 and back up to the north tip of Barnes Lake.
One hundred and ten firefighters were working over the weekend to contain the fire and protect properties, and more firefighters are expected to be brought in on Monday.
Three air tankers continue to make trips back and forth from Kamloops with retardant.
Support services for evacuees are being offered at the Cache Creek Community Hall.
Kevin Skrepnek, spokesman for the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch, says hot weather has caused an increase in the number of wildfires this year.
There have already been 177 wildfires in the province since April 1 — all but two have been caused by human error.
"It's that dry condition that can really catch people off guard," he said.
"And that's what we're seeing is just kind of a lack of diligence out there with the number of human caused wildfires we've responded to."
Two more fires are burning south of Prince George. Residents in the community of Buckhorn are back in their homes now, but remain on alert after they were evacuated Friday.
With files from CBC's Chad Pawson