July 24th, 2024

B.C. heat triggers burst of fire activity, new evacuation order in central Interior


By The Canadian Press on July 11, 2024.

British Columbia's wildfire service says forest fuels are more susceptible to fire starts after seven consecutive days of extreme heat, with new blazes prompting two new evacuation orders over the same number of days. Helicopters fly past the Tremont Creek wildfire as it burns on the mountains above Ashcroft, B.C., on Friday, July 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

British Columbia’s wildfire service says forest fuels are more susceptible to fire starts after seven consecutive days of extreme heat, with new blazes prompting two new evacuation orders in recent days.

The latest spans a portion of the District of Wells, about 80 kilometres east of Quesnel in the province’s central Interior, where the BC Wildfire Service map shows a cluster of more than two dozen new fires in the area.

The district issued the order at 10 p.m. Wednesday night, saying the 70-hectare Cornish Mountain wildfire is a threat to life and safety, and residents must leave right away.

The order covers the Eight- and Nine-Mile Lake Areas, Cornish Lake, and Mine Sites areas, while an evacuation alert is in effect for the rest of the district.

In northeastern B.C., the Fort Nelson First Nation issued an evacuation order Tuesday for its Kahntah reserve, telling residents they had to leave by boat due to the threat of an out-of-control blaze discovered the day before.

There are nearly 150 active wildfires in B.C., up from fewer than 100 at the start of the week, with two considered fires of note, meaning they are either highly visible or pose a threat to safety or infrastructure.

The BC Wildfire Service says smoke from the two-square-kilometre Little Oliver Creek fire will be visible from Highway 16 and the Terrace, B.C. area.

The 3.5-square-kilometre Hook Creek fire is meanwhile burning out of control to the north, near a stretch of the Alaska Highway along the boundary with Yukon.

While temperatures have cooled to more seasonal levels along B.C.’s coast, Environment Canada is maintaining heat warnings for much of the southern Interior and southeast corner of the province.

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for the Fort Nelson area which has been the epicentre for drought and fire activity so far this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first publishedJuly 11, 2024.

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