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Crews battling dozens of fires sparked by people, weather

Last Updated Jul 1, 2021 at 4:47 pm PDT

An undated photo showing a BC Wildfire Service member. (Courtesy BC Wildfire Service)

LYTTON (NEWS 1130) — Crews are gearing up for another challenging day as more wildfires ignite across B.C.

Over the last few days, the hot and dry conditions have caused “fuels being extremely susceptible to ignition,” according to a tweet from the BC Wildfire service.

In the last two days, there have been an additional 75 active fires, for a total of 99. However, there are eight wildfires of note currently burning.

George Road 

Just south of Lytton (adjacent to Highway 1) the George Road fire is currently burning and is an estimated 350 hectares in size.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, the fire is suspected to be human-caused, but is still under investigation. It was discovered on Wednesday.

There are nine firefighters and one helicopter on scene.

The George Road wildfire continues to be classified as Out of Control, but previous evacuation alerts have been rescinded.

“There will be increased fire activity in the inoperable areas with the weather the area is experiencing,” the website reads.

Merry Creek

BC Wildfire Service is assisting the Castlegar Fire Department as a the Merry Creek fire shoots up from a one to seven hectare blaze in just a couple of hours.

The fire is just eight kilometres SW of Castlegar. Because of the fast-moving fire, it is prompting rush evacuations.

Local authorities have been going door-to-door this afternoon to move people out immediately, with local officials saying there wasn’t time to send out an alert due to the Merry Creek fire.

That blaze, burning about 8-kilometers south of Castlegar, has prompted a number of buildings to be cleared, including a local seniors center.

It’s not clear at this point how many people are being forced from their homes at this point.

A section of Highway 3 to the east of the affected community has been shut down by Drive BC to assist with the evacuation.

The fire is expected to the human-caused.

Mckay Creek

The Mckay Creek wildfire was discovered Tuesday just 23 kilometres north of Lillooet, along West Pavilion Road. This wildfire is highly visible from Lillooet, Clinton and the surrounding communities.

Because of the significant growth caused by period of elevated winds the Mckay Creek wildfire Wednesday, the fire is classified as Out of Control.

“The fire has now crossed the Fraser River and is burning in isolated areas on the east side of the river,” the site reads.

“Due to the aggressive fire behaviour and windy conditions, crews’ progress on the fire has been limited.”

The Wildfire Service adds the primary objective is to assess and deploy structure protection units when possible and “engage with local stakeholders to identify and prioritize values at risk.”

An Evacuation Order has been issued by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District for West Pavilion road from the 14 km mark to the 41 km mark.

An Evacuation Alert has also been issued for the Pavilion Lake area.

The estimated 15,000 hectare fire continues to be classified as Out of Control.

Sparks Lake

Just 15km north of Kamloops Lake, Sparks Lake wildfire estimated at 20,000 hectares is currently burning.

An evacuation order has been issued for 163 homes and an evacuation alert is set for another 298 homes.

“The weather to date has been unprecedented with temperatures hitting the mid-40s. Yesterday (June 30), winds were flowing from the south and then switched and drove the fire eastward,” the site reads.

This fire is suspected to be human-caused but is under investigation.

Smoke is visible from Kamloops and nearby communities.

Close to 90 firefighters, 13 helicopters and 16 heavy equipment is on the scene. Resources include 115 personnel assigned to this fire, including firefighters and support personnel.

“Crews working in two divisions, Division Alpha and Bravo. Both — working on the same objectives in their sectors — will work to establish control lines using heavy equipment, burn out where able from established control lines and establish pump hose lays.”

“This is a 24-hour operation, and there will be crews on-site day and night. B.C. Wildfire Service is adjusting their resources to match the activity on the fire.”

The Sparks Lake wildfire is classified as Out of Control.

SW of Decka Lake

While the wildfire South West of Decka Lake is not classified as Out of Control, there is an Evacuation Order has been issued by Cariboo Regional District for Deka Lake.

The wildfire caused by Lightning is estimated at about 70 hectares.


Prince George wildfires

There are three wildfires — all caused by lightning — in Prince George fire crews are attempting to maintain.

The Beatton River wildfire caused by lightning has spread about 2,200 hectares — with limited information about the details of the fire and its resources.

North of Buckinghorse River — adjacent to Highway 97 North in the Pink Mountain area a 4,800 hectare fire continues to burn in the area. An Evacuation Order is in effect.

A wildfire is also burning on the Alaska Highway, estimated to be about 2,200 hectares.

Drivers in the areas can expect delays amid highway closures.