Crews ‘very encouraged’ by progress on Central B.C. wildfire

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Crews ‘very encouraged’ by progress on Central B.C. wildfire

by - 2 min read

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Officials in Central British Columbia are feeling confident that they will be able to make some headway in their battle against a wildfire west of Prince George on Sunday — although changing winds may hamper their progress. 

The B.C. Wildfire Service said it was notified of a wildfire burning near Fraser Lake and Lejac, along Highway 16 around 3 p.m. PT Saturday.

The fire, estimated at 260 hectares as of Sunday morning at 10 a.m., has prompted evacuation orders and alerts in the area. Officials said it didn’t spread overnight. 

“We’re very encouraged,” said Gerry Thiessen, chair of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako. 

“It was reported back to me that [crews] felt a lot better this morning than they did yesterday when the winds were blowing.” 

(CBC)

Thiessen said about 30 firefighters are working to contain the blaze, which is described as most likely human-caused. The service is also using helicopters and air tankers to drop fire retardant on the flames.

However, Thiessen warned that officials are expecting a 180-degree change in wind direction Sunday afternoon.

“Our concern is what it will do to the fire,” he said.

State of emergency

Around 9 p.m. Saturday, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako called a state of emergency and issued an evacuation order for all properties south of Highway 16 to Roys Lake, west and east of Seaspunkut (Lejac).

Thiessen said the area has a few properties but not many residences. He couldn’t say for sure but he didn’t think any people were forced to leave.

Residents of Fraser Lake B.C. watch smoke billow up from a wildfire on Saturday May 11, 2019. (Sarrah Storey)

The district also issued an evacuation alert for the area South of Highway 16 to south of Klez Lake and east of Drywilliam Lake. Thiessen said he thought about 40 people were in that area.

‘Impressive’ flames

Fraser Lake Mayor Sarrah Storey told CBC News on Saturday night that the fire was visible from the community and described the flames as “impressive.”

She also said that several people in her community were surprised to see a fire like this so early in the season.

Residents in Prince George said Saturday evening they could smell smoke from the fire and see a hazy horizon at sunset.

This story originally appeared on CBC

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