Raging fire burning west of Lillooet, B.C., increases in size

Raging fire burning west of Lillooet, B.C., increases in size

9 June 2009

published by www.cbc.ca

Canada — The massive forest fire burning in B.C.’s Cariboo Region continues to sweep eastward as it moves toward Marshall Lake in the Bridge River Valley.

Officials said the blaze west of Lillooet, B.C., which doubled in size over the weekend, increased by approximately 20 square kilometres Monday, and now covers 60 square kilometres.

Strong winds fuelled the flames, which are only 15 per cent contained.

Mary Ann Leach, a fire information officer with the Kamloops Fire Centre, said the blaze is a difficult one to fight.

“It’s challenging because of the steep terrain in this area and it’s complex in that the winds are so unpredictable and tend to come from many different directions at the same time,” she said.

“It’s very difficult to plan and carry out objectives with the winds changing constantly.”

An evacuation order remains in place for Liza, Marshall and Carol Lakes as winds push the flames closer those areas.

The evacuation order remains in effect for Mud Creek, Tyaughton Lake and Gun Creek Road.

An evacuation alert remains in place for Gun Lake, Gold Bridge and Bralorne.

More than 200 firefighters, 13 helicopters and 46 pieces of heavy equipment continue to fight the aggressive blaze, which was discovered May 29.

Highway 40 remains closed in both directions.

Crews gain access to fire near Kelowna

Meanwhile, crews have managed to build a rough road to the seven-hectare fire burning southeast of Kelowna, in the Bellevue Canyon area.

The lightning-caused fire has not grown since it was sparked Sunday afternoon, but it has the potential to threaten the nearby historic Myra Canyon rail trestles, so crews are taking no chances.

Twenty firefighters were on site battling the blaze Monday and it was expected another 20 would be deployed once crews gained access.

Northern B.C. fire continues to burn

In northern B.C., a blaze burning near the B.C.-Yukon border remains at 134 square kilometres in size.

More than 90 firefighters are on site battling that blaze, which is 15 per cent contained.

An evacuation alert, affecting 60 people, remains in place for the communities of Fireside, Coal River and Muddy River Indian Reserve #1.

Crews have been working to keep the fire away from the highway and nearby structures since it was discovered June 1.

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