The Squamish Lilloet Regional District (SLRD) issued an evacuation order on Saturday afternoon due to the “immediate danger to the safety of life” from the Downton Creek Wildfire, burning about 18 kilometers south of Lillooet, in British Columbia.
The constituency covers Lillooet, Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish and four electoral districts. As of 12:30 p.m., some properties in Electoral Area B were ordered to be evacuated, including Cottonwood, Cinnamon, Gott and Roger recreation sites and the Seton Ridge Recreation Trail.
District lots 2343, 4361 and 4360 were also included in the order.
Residents are asked to head north to Lillooet or south to Pemberton and watch the SLRD website for updates.
The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) also said it was responding to the fire at Lower Arthur’s Seat, 20 kilometers northeast of Lytton, shortly after 5.30pm.
He said the new fire is classified as out of control, suspected to be man-made and is being investigated.
Air tankers responded quickly after the blaze was reported, with helicopters and ground personnel en route Saturday night, the wildfire department said.
Evacuation alert issued in Peace River District
An evacuation alert has also been issued by the Peace River Regional District for the area near Battleship Mountain in northeast British Columbia.
The district says there are no homes in the alert area, but some recreation sites along a forest service road near Carbon Lake could be affected.
Sustained winds and hot, dry conditions in the Peace region were behind the growth of the Wildfire in Battleship Mountainwhich the forest fire department called “aggressive” on Friday.
The BCWS says the blaze, one of two in the area that turned into notable wildfires on Thursday, was heading toward Hudson’s Hope, about 368 kilometers north of Prince George.
A notable forest fire is one that is particularly visible or threatens public safety.
“It is likely that activity will resume [Saturday] afternoon once we see the winds reach their peak, usually around 4 p.m.,” Fire Information Officer Karley Desrosiers said Saturday morning.
“The smoky conditions are expected to continue for the next two days until probably Monday or Tuesday when they will have a chance to clear.”
Environment Canada has issued a special notice air quality statement for the eastern half of British Columbia due to smoke from the fires.
The other forest fire, near dinosaur lakeis just three miles from BC Hydro’s Peace Canyon Dam and the Hudson’s Hope Suspension Bridge on Highway 29.
Firefighters established control lines around the perimeter of the blaze on Thursday evening and further growth is not expected.
Other notable fires
There are three other notable fires in British Columbia: the Bearhole Lake Fire southeast of Tumbler Ridge, near the BC-Alberta border.
The Fat Dog Creek Fire is burning near Lightning Lake in EC Manning Provincial Park, about 230 kilometers east of Vancouver, while the Heather Lake Fire is burning in the same park, closer to the US border .
Park officials released an evacuation order for several trails and viewpoints south of Hwy 3 due to the Heather Lake Fire, which originated across the US border in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
“Forest fire crews are actively monitoring and may work in this area. Should wildfire conditions change, visitors to this park may receive a limited evacuation notice,” reads a notice on the BC Parks website.
Desrosiers says she expects wildfire season last until september due to abnormally high temperatures and low relative humidity.
She says people traveling over the long weekend should consider local campfire bansdo not park vehicles in areas with dry grass and be sure to put out fires when they start.