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Evacuations issued as wildfires near homes by Merritt, Lillooet

Smoke from a controlled burn near Lytton earlier this month.
April 14, 2014 - 7:11 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN — The first evacuations of the season took place this afternoon as a quick moving wildfire closed in on four homes near Lillooet.

Initial attack crews make up the majority of the 21 firefighters on scene and are being aided by two helicopters and a water tender as they work to keep the fire, which is currently estimated at 20 hectares, from spreading.

A tactical evacuation has been issued for four homes in the Bridge River Indian Band area, north of Lillooet. That means B.C. Wildfire crews felt the risk was too near and did not wait for local government to take action. RCMP helped move people out of the area.

“We didn’t want to take any risks,” Fire Information Officer Kayla Pepper says. “The fire is moving quickly.”

Wildfire crews are also working anoterh fire in Lower Nicola—estimated at two to four hectares—just west of Merritt. A water tender and 11 firefighters are on site assisting the Lower Nicola Indian Band fire crews. Two out-buildings were consumed by fire and crews are keeping watch on other homes in the area.

Pepper says they are unsure of the cause of either fire. Since April 1, already more than 30 fires were started in the Kamloops Fire Centre, almost all from poorly planned open burning.

Crews have attended about a dozen new fires in the past few days. The two largest have been in the South Okanagan. One began Friday in the Inkaneep area and is now estimated at 80 hectares. A helicopter and 23 crew members were on scene today while wildfire crews work with the Keremeos Fire Department on an 84 hectare fire south of Cawston that began Sunday. Fire activity on the Cawston fire significantly decreased by the end of the day Monday.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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