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78 wildfires burning in the province. Here’s what we know

Destruction caused by wildfire in Lytton still unknown

As a rapid-moving wildfire raced through the town of Lytton Wednesday afternoon, it became one more blaze BC Wildfire crews had to grapple across the province.

As of Thursday morning, there are 78 active fires – 53 of which sparked in the last two days amid a record-breaking heat wave in the province. More than one has been deemed to be human-caused and six due to lightning. The rest remain unknown pending further investigation.

ALSO READ: Lytton breaks Canadian all-time heat record second day in a row

Fifteen of those fires are burning within the Kamloops Fire Centre with a further 13 burning on Vancouver Island, as well as near Squamish. Thirteen are burning near Prince George, and 35 are burning in the Cariboo, including a blaze in Lone Butte that has residents preparing for a possible evacuation.

Much of the region surrounding Lytton is covered in a thick layer of smoke. Health officials recommend anyone with underlying health conditions, as well as children and seniors, to stay indoors to avoid adverse impacts from the ash and smoke.

Key wildfires of note:

George Road

Discovered on June 16, approximately seven kilometres south of Lytton and adjacent to Highway 1, this fire remains active and out of control, burning at roughly 350 hectares. Prior evacuation alerts have been rescinded.

The fire has been deemed human-caused. Nine firefighters are controlling the blaze with the help of one helicopter.

McKay Creek

Discovered on June 29 roughly 23 kilometres north of Lillooet, this fire remains out-of-control and roughly 6,000 hectares in size.

“Some progress was made today but due to the extreme fire behaviour, crews’ progress on the head of the fire was limited,” BC Wildfire Service said in an update Wednesday night.

Twenty-four firefighters have been deployed, backed by four helicopters and five heavy equipment machines. The Squamish- Lillooet Regional District has issued an evacuation order for the West Pavilion road from the 14-kilometre mark to the 41-kilometre mark in Electoral Area “B.”

READ MORE: Firefighters battle 5,000-ha McKay Creek fire near Pavilion

READ MORE: Wildfire north of Kamloops at 4,000 hectares, 136 properties evacuated

Sparks Lake

Discovered on June 28, this wildfire remains out of control, burning 15 kilometres north of Kamloops Lake. The estimated size is 20,000 hectares.

“Due to the hot and dry weather, increased fire behaviour is being seen on site,” BC Wildfire Service said. “This is an evolving situation in which BC Wildfire Service continues to adjust and increase their resources to match the activity on-site.”

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has issued an evacuation order for 18 properties in Electoral Area “J.” An evacuation alert is in effect for 150 properties in the Deadman, Red Lake, Tranquille Valley and Vidette Lake areas, as well as 298 addressed properties in the Loon Lake and Hihium Lake areas within Electoral Areas “E” and “J.”

Fifty-one firefighters are battling the blaze, with the help of 11 helicopters and 2 heavy equipment machinery.

Beatton River

Burning at 2,200 hectares and discovered June 28, the Beatton River fire was caused by lightning, according to BC Wildfire Service.

Classified as out of control, the fire is being treated as an interface fire – which means it has the potential to burn buildings and vegetation simultaneously.

Not much more is known about this wildfire at this time.

G80997 (Buckinghorse River fire)

Yet to be named by officials, the wildfire was discovered June 28 and an estimated 4,800 hectares in size, burning north of Buckinghorse River and adjacent to Highway 97, in the Pink Mountain area.

Evacuation orders are underway for properties 1.5 kilometres on either side of the highway, south of Mile 202 to Mile 190, as well as five kilometres west and 25 kilometres east of the highway. Further evacuation alerts are in effect for nearby regions.

G91020 (Alaska Highway fire)

Discovered June 19, and roughly 2,200 hectares in size, this fire along the Alaska Highway is believed to be caused by lightning and considered out of control. No further details are available about the wildfire, but drivers should expect delays due to road closures along Highway 97N between Sikanni Chief Road and Prophet River Sub Road for 59.3 kilometres.


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About the Author: Ashley Wadhwani-Smith

I began my journalistic journey at Black Press Media as a community reporter in my hometown of Maple Ridge, B.C.
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