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Crews struggle to contain massive wildfire southwest of Prince George

About 80 people have been ordered to leave their homes as crews continue to battle a massive wildfire near Prince George.
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May 11, 2015 - 11:27 AM

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Help is on the way for firefighters trying to contain a forest fire in northern British Columbia, where dozens of people have been forced out of their homes.

More than 125 firefighting staff, four helicopters and eight pieces of heavy equipment have been called in to battle the blaze as of Monday.

Jill Kelsh of the B.C. government's wildfire management branch said the fire is expected to remain active for at least the next couple of days.

The fire was spotted on Saturday around Norman Lake and has since expanded to more than 25 square kilometres, about 60 kilometres southwest of Prince George.

"We do expect it to continue to grow just because of the hot weather and dry conditions," Kelsh said.

About 100 wildfire management staff, including firefighters and pilots, were en route Monday afternoon to lend a hand with the smoky blaze.

The threat to nearby homes meant 80 people left the area over the weekend, mostly from a number of permanent and seasonal homes on Little Bobtail Lake, Naltesby Lake and Norman Lake.

Some residents in the surrounding are have been put on alert to leave if the situation worsens.

The blaze is believed to be caused by humans, said Kelsh.

"When there's not lightning it has to be human," she said, adding an investigation is being conducted.

It's the province's first major blaze of the season, which arrived early this year, said Navi Saini, also with the wildfire management branch.

"We've responded to fewer fires this year to date than last year and the 10-year average," she said. "But the fires we've seen this year have burned a larger area."

Hot and dry conditions are contributing to the elevated fire risk, and Saini said that trend is expected to continue.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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