Wildfires force new evacuations in British Columbia

Wildfires force new evacuations in British Columbia
Wildfires force new evacuations in British Columbia

FORT NELSON, BC — More residents in northeastern British Columbia are being forced from their homes due to rapidly growing wildfires.

Another evacuation notice was issued Monday evening in the Peace River Regional District, for Doig River Area 206, which is a small community located approximately 60 kilometers northeast of Fort St John.

The regional district has urged those affected by this advisory to take their essential personal belongings and travel to an evacuation center in Fort St John, where assistance awaits them.

This new notice was issued as many residents under evacuation orders elsewhere in the region refuse to leave. In Fort Nelson, a mayor even called the recalcitrants directly.

Weather forecasts predicted winds late Monday and Tuesday that could blow the Parker Lake Fire toward Fort Nelson — a risk that prompted the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and Fort Nelson First Nation to extend mandatory evacuation orders to more of northeastern British Columbia.

By early Tuesday morning, the fire had expanded to more than 84 square kilometers, marking significant growth from Monday morning.

Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor Rob Fraser said the emergency operations center called as many people as possible and was able to convince some of them to leave.

Mr Fraser suspects around 50 “civilians” are still in Fort Nelson, a community of around 4,700, in addition to emergency personnel.

The Parker Lake Fire is one of many fires ravaging Western Canada, from Manitoba to British Columbia.

In northwestern Manitoba, a fire ravaged the community of Cranberry Portage and forced approximately 550 residents from their homes. In Fort McMurray, Alberta, a fire that prompted evacuations appears to be burning about 16 kilometers southeast of the city.

“It’s really going to depend on the weather, and so far the weather has held up,” Mr. Fraser said in a video posted on Facebook Monday evening, in which he explained that the winds on Sunday evening prevented the flames from spreading. to get closer to the city.

He also confirmed that electricity and water remained available at Fort Nelson, noting that electricity was of particular concern for evacuees who are worried about their homes.

The fire grew to 53 square kilometers on Monday, and no significant rain is forecast for northeastern British Columbia until Sunday.

On alert

Meanwhile, the Doig River First Nation, located 60 kilometers northeast of Fort St John, British Columbia, also issued an evacuation order, asking its members to leave the area due to a forest fire spreading nearby.

For its part, Alberta Wildfire warned 68,000 people in Fort McMurray to be ready to leave at any moment. The fire that has been burning near the town since last Friday grew stronger Monday as the sun rose and the humidity cleared during the afternoon. Changing winds also contributed to its growth “in multiple directions,” the agency said.

On Tuesday, northwesterly winds are expected at 10-15 km/h, moving northeastward later in the day, with a maximum temperature of 19°C.

Another 14-square-kilometer fire burning near the hamlet of Teepee Creek in northwest Alberta was facing extreme wildfire conditions, with gusts and no precipitation in sight.

The director of Manitoba’s wildfire service says in the 40 years he’s worked in the field, he’s never seen anything like the fire threatening Carberry Portage.

Earl Simmons said the fire was started by lightning and was made worse by very dry conditions and strong winds on Saturday.

It was growing at two kilometers per hour on the head of the fire, but with reduced winds it remained at over 300 square kilometers and did not encroach further toward Cranberry Portage. .

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