Tumbler Ridge, B.C. Canada — Four thousand people were forced late on Monday to flee a raging forest fire that threatened to cut off their only access out of a small mining town in western Canada, according to officials.
Residents of Tumbler Ridge in westernmost British Columbia were ordered to leave their homes at 7.40pm as the blaze burned to within 12km, provincial fire department spokesperson Radha Fisher told AFP by telephone.
Most headed to two nearby towns, she said.
“The fire raced almost sixteen kilometers in just four hours,” Fisher said. “It was originally caused by lightning. The reason it’s now so big is that conditions here are very dry.”
Overnight, the blaze grew to 18 500 acres in size and crept to within 10km of the town, she said.
Meanwhile, volunteer firefighters and aircraft have been flown in from eastern Canada to help fight 109 forest fires in Saskatchewan province that have displaced 1 800 people mostly in northern parts, according to reports.