State Of Emergency Declared Amid "Out Of Control" Wildfire In BC
This is the first big wildfire of 2019.
Residents are facing evacuation orders in Fraser Lake and Lejac as a wildfire is burning "out of control." The BC Wildfire Service says they noticed the fire yesterday afternoon, burning along Highway 16, around 3 PM PST. About five hours after that, the fire had already grown to 100 hectares in size.
A few hours later that evening, it had grown even bigger, reaching 260 hectares in size by late Saturday night. A hectare is approximately the size of an international rugby field or a 100-meter by 100-meter square.
CBC reports that the fire is currently being described as "out of control" despite the large crew trying to battle the blaze. There is a crew of around 20 firefighters currently working to contain the fire and even air tankers are being flown in to drop fire retardant on the area.
Given how big this fire is, and how quickly it has grown, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako has declared a state of emergency. On top of the state of emergency, the region has also issued evacuations orders for residents along highway 16, where the fire is currently spreading.
Residents who live "south of Highway 16 to south of Roys Lake; West and East of Seaspunkut 4 (Lejac)" are ordered to leave the area immediately with their families, pets, and neighbours who may need help. They are instructed to close all doors and windows, and if they can, take any important belongs that are quickly accessible.
Meanwhile, resident in the area "south of Highway 16 to south of Klez Lake and east of Drywilliam Lake" are facing an evacuation alert, meaning they aren't being ordered to leave yet but they should be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
Those residents are advised to gather important items like medicine, purses, personal care items, important documents, and keepsakes and have them packed and ready to go, should they need to leave quickly. They are also advised to contact all their family and make sure they have a planned meeting spot outside of the potential evacuation area.
Residents are advised to follow local radio stations for updates on evacuation orders.
BC Wildfire service has not revealed many details about the blaze at this time, though it's currently believed to have been human-caused. This is the first major wildfire BC has faced this year.