NEWS/ WILDFIRES — A wildfire west of Quesnel had grown to 1,600 hectares by 9:20 p.m. Sunday, forcing the evacuation of two people from a fishing lodge and 66 residents of the Kluskus Indian Reserve.
The Euchiniko Lakes wildfire, 125 kilometres west of Quesnel, was estimated at 1,600 hectares. Hot, dry conditions, low relative humidity and strong winds in the area have challenged fire suppression efforts, the Prince George Fire Centre reported.
The lightning-caused fire was discovered July 8 and has grown significantly. Forty-one firefighters, supported by helicopters and eight pieces of heavy equipment continued to build guards around the fire Sunday. The fire was burning at Rank 3, the term for a moderately vigorous surface fire, and more growth was expected.
On the advice of the Wildfire Management Branch, the Cariboo Regional District issued an evacuation order for the fishing lodge and the reserve. The reserve wasn’t directly threatened by the fire but road access might be compromised.
Support services were set up in Quesnel to assist evacuees.
Crews and aircraft were also fighting a fire in the Soda Creek area west of Highway 97. The fire was estimated at 12 hectares by late afternoon.
More than 30 firefighters were deployed with support from air tankers, helicopters, and heavy equipment.
People living in Smithers, Telkwa, Houston, Burns Lake, Southside, Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof were notified of possible smoke from a wildfire south of the Chelaslie River.
The fire has burned about 5,000 hectares. Smokey conditions are expected to continue as a result of the wildfire and weather conditions in the coming days.
The Chelaslie River fire has been classified as a “modified response” fire. Modified response fires are closely monitored and allowed to burn.
Fire hazard rating in the Kamloops Fire Centre is mostly high to extreme but no major fires were reported on the weekend.