Dozens evacuated in northern bush fires

Dozens evacuated in northern bush fires

4 May 2009

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Canada —

Five houses and one business have been destroyed by a forest fire in central B.C. and forced the evacuation of dozens of residents.

Early Sunday, Donna MacPherson, a B.C. fire information officer, said the blaze in 70 Mile House grew overnight to 600 hectares from 150 hectares and destroyed the six structures.

There have been no reported injuries or lives lost, she said.

“We would like to express our condolences to those people who have suffered a loss of property,” she said. No other homes were threatened, she said.

“We have 20% containment on the fire,” she said on Sunday afternoon, as 40 firefighters worked to get control of the spreading wildfire. Four helicopters were also deployed.

MacPherson said cooler temperatures, higher humidity and less wind were helping with containment.

On Saturday, the fire was being pushed by hot, windy conditions. MacPherson said dry brush and dead pine trees were fuelling the fire.

Authorities issued an evacuation order Saturday afternoon for that community to notify residents a large interface fire was beginning to close in on 60 homes in a subdivision.

The residents were evacuated to two nearby communities, with most staying in 100 Mile House.

MacPherson, said the fire was human caused but had no further information about the investigation.

“Our main priority has been structure protection,” she said, adding crews were still trying to determine 70 Mile House is about 400 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

Meanwhile, another central B.C. fire, about 100 kilometres west of Williams Lake, forced residents of a First Nations Community to evacuate their homes on the weekend.

RCMP said about 15 homes were threatened by the spreading fire on the Anaham Reserve near Alexis Creek, B.C. at about 3 p.m. Saturday.

All residents were evacuated without incident, the RCMP said late Saturday evening.

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