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New evacuation order for northwest B.C. after intense lightning storm last week

Fire crews work along Highway 93 South to remove fire-weakened trees in the area of the Wardle wildfire in Kootenay National Park on Saturday, August 4, 2018 in a Parks Canada handout photo.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Parks Canada
August 06, 2018 - 4:30 PM

An evacuation order was issued Sunday evening for part of British Columbia's Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako as a nearby wildfire rages on.

Regional Chair Bill Miller said an intense lightning storm in the area last week ignited dozens of blazes, prompting the regional district to order the evacuation.

He said the fires near Purvis and Nadina lakes that prompted evacuation orders have not put many people or properties at risk, though he didn't have a specific estimate of how many people were affected.

"I think there's only a couple in there and the (evacuation) order doesn't include a forestry service road through there, so there's access," he said in a phone interview Sunday.

A hunting and fishing lodge on Nadina Lake managed to avoid the fire, said Miller, as it spread northward past the lodge. A structural prevention unit containing pumps, hoses, sprinklers and ladders was sent to the lodge to protect it should the fire spread back south.

Miller said the cause of a fire near Island Lake, roughly 220 kilometres south of the Northwest Fire Centre in Smithers, B.C., was still under investigation. That fire has also spurred on an evacuation order.

Kyla Fraser with the BC Wildfire Service said most of the lightning has passed for now, but the long-term effects of last week's storm may be felt for weeks as hundreds of fires broke out, stretching the province's resources thin.

She continued, saying the out-of-province firefighting aid requested last week was expected to arrive Monday night and will then be directed toward the highest-priority fires.

Fraser was not able confirm if aid would be sent directly to the fires in the Bulkley-Nechako district.

"We'll find out more in the coming days what fires they'll be assigned to," Fraser said from the Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre in Kamloops, B.C.

Miller said that given the expected forecast of increasingly hot, dry weather, it was up to residents and travellers to the area to exercise "extreme caution" anywhere near an evacuation area, and with any sort of open flames.

"We just have to be super, super careful out there. We can't do anything about the lightning but we can do stuff about our own behaviour," he said.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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