Canada — Twelve significant wildfires currently burning in B.C. have prompted new evacuation orders and alerts.
The newest evacuation order is for the small community of Hudson’s Hope, population 1,100, west of Fort St. John in B.C.’s Peace River District, because of the Mount McAllister fire.
It’s the first time this year an entire community has been ordered evacuated because of the wildfire threat.
Residents are being advised to make the 80 km trip to Fort St. John, where they are being told they will be put up at the North Peace Arena.
The district has also declared a local state of emergency.
The Peace River Regional District has also ordered an evacuation alert for residents in the community of Moberly Lake and surrounding area.
The alert extends to the northernmost point of Boucher Lake Road, directly west to the Klin-Se-Za protected area, north along Carbon Creek to the southern edge of Williston Lake directly east to the boundary of Hudson’s Hope
The Mount McAllister fire,which is burning out of control l00 kilometres southwest of Fort St. John and 56 kilometres west of Chetwynd, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.
It has doubled in size to 20,000 hectares.
Maka-Murray evacuation order
At 9 p.m. PT Wednesday night, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation order in an area of the southern Nicola Valley along the Coquihalla Highway.
The evacuation order applies to approximately 30 to 35 properties in an area around Murray Lake. Residents leaving the area are being advised to shut off power and propane at their properties.
The 250-hectare Maka-Murray fire was discovered Monday. It is believed to have been started by lightning.
Apex Mountain wildfire
A 100-hectare fire burning in the Apex Mountain area in the Okanagan north of Keremeos, B.C., has led to a new evacuation alert for residents in an area bordered by Apex Mountain Road, Burlington Ranch and Green Mountain Road.
In response to the high fire risk, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued a temporary fire ban, beginning today, applying to all open burning, including campfires and fireworks.
Just outside the Lower Mainland, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District has issued an evacuation alert for residents living near Murray Lake, due to an aggressive forest fire covering 60 hectares.
The fire, which was sparked by lightning, is burning between Hope and Merritt, around 238 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.
Firefighters, airtankers and helicopters have been battling the fire since it was discovered on Monday, but ground crew have now been removed due to safety concerns.
Jura evacuation alert
The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen issued an evacuation alert Wednesday evening for a number of homes and properties near the Jura fire, which was discovered earlier in the day, burning southeast of Missezula Lake between Summerland and Princeton.
The fire was approximately 35 hectares just before 10 p.m. PT Wednesday.
An evacuation order, should it be issued, and more information on alerts will be published on the regional district’s website.
Chelaslie Arm wildfire spreading
Meanwhile, in B.C.’s northwest, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako has declared a state of local emergency for the François/Ootsa Lake Rural and Fraser Lake Rural areas, where a wildfire in Chelaslie Arm grows to 20,000 hectares.
An evacuation order for Tetachuck Lake and Chelaslie River has also been expanded, through Uchu Reach to Intata Reach on Natalkuz Lake to the south side of Chelaslie.
An evacuation alert was also issued Wednesday for Intata Reach at the confluence of Uchu Reach, at the southern and eastern borders of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako Electoral Area E to Natalkuz-500 Road in the north and to the Kluskus Forest Service Road.
On Monday, BC Parks closed nearby Entiako Provincial Park and issued an evacuation order for all cabin owners and all recreational users within the park.
The Chelaslie Arm wildfire, which is burning some 200 kilometres southwest of Prince George, was discovered last Tuesday and is believed to have been caused by lightning.
Campfire bans for coast and Cariboo
On B.C.’s south coast, the fire risk is high to extreme and a campfire ban has been issued throughout B.C’s South Coast and the entire Kamloops Fire Centre, beginning Wednesday.
The Cariboo Fire Centre has expanded its campfire ban, also beginning Wednesday, to cover the entire area.
The ban applies to open fires of any size, fires with a burn registration number, industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches, sky lanterns and burning barrels.
The ban does not apply to stoves or portable campfire apparatus that use gas, propane or briquettes, as long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.
In the Cariboo Regional District, the Euchiniko Lakes wildfire, also believed to have been sparked by lightning, has grown to cover 2,800 hectares since it was discovered last Tuesday.
As of Tuesday, 120 firefighters were trying to control the blaze, with six helicopters continuing to bucket the fire to support ground crews.
A local state of emergency was declared in the district and an evacuation order issued for the Euchiniko Lakes Ranch on Sunday. Evacuation ordered in Alberta
Last week, three oil and gas worker camps were evacuated due to concerns over the spreading Red Deer Creek wildfire, which is now estimated to cover 33,400 hectares on Wednesday.
The wildfire is within 10 kilometres of the Alberta border, prompting the Municipal District of Greenview to issue an evacuation order.
According to B.C.’s Wildfire Management Branch, 118 firefighters working around the clock have made great progress on the fire and are continuing to build a fireline.
These are the 12 wildfires listed on the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch’s “wildfires of note” list as of Wednesday:
In the Prince George fire centre:
22 km Tenakihi. Euchiniko Lakes. Forres Mountain fire. Mount McAllister fire. Mugaha fire. Red Deer Creek fire. Salmon Lake fire. Valley south of Morfee Lake.
In the Kamloops fire centre:
Apex Mountain. Maka-Murray.
In the Cariboo fire centre:
In the Northwest fire centre:
Dozens of other wildfires are also burning across the province and the Wildfire Management Branch has requested the assistance of more than 70 out-of-province personnel to help fight the fires.
On Sunday, 21 personnel from Ontario arrived in Kamloops. A team of 14 people also arrived from Alberta and have since been deployed to the Red Deer Creek fire.
An additional 55 personnel were expected to arrive Wednesday from Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec.
The Wildfire Management Branch says these personnel are providing command and co-ordination support to fire crews on the ground, but there are currently no out-of-province firefighters in B.C.