The BC Wildfire Service crews are keeping busy Thursday after 33 new fires sprung up across the Cariboo-Chilcotin in the past 24 hours.
The situation has prompted the Cariboo Regional District to activate its Emergency Operations Centre and open an emergency support services centre in 100 Mile House. An evacuation alert has been issued for the Deka Lake area, while the District of 100 Mile House has closed Horse Lake Road to local traffic. Police were also going door-to-door Wednesday telling people to be prepared to evacuate if needed.
BCWS fire crews, aided by local fire departments, worked feverishly Wednesday to assess and contain the multiple blazes, which stretched from 70 Mile House and Green Lake to Quesnel Lake and west of the Nazko First Nation. The bulk are in the South Cariboo. The fires were reported as thunder rolled through the region. As of 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, there were 16 fires in the South Cariboo but more started overnight.
BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Jessica Mack said the South Cariboo fires occurred in “clusters” – in Deka Lake and Interlakes area, Horse Lake-Lone Butte, Canim Lake and Green Lake-Watch Lake.
“As you can imagine, due to the severe thunderstorm that went through the 100 Mile Zone, it was an evolving situation,” BCWS fire information officer Jessica Mack said in an email to the Free Press. “All of the wildfires within this zone are being assessed and will be actioned in priority sequence. Ground crews, helicopters, air tankers, members from volunteer fire departments and heavy equipment have responded and will continue to do so over the coming days.”
The biggest fire is a 700-hectare blaze at McKinley Creek east of Horsefly, followed by a 10-ha fire at the end of Horse Lake Road, a six-ha fire in Lone Butte at Irish Lake and 2-ha fires west of Nazko and north of Jetson Road in the Interlakes. Many of the others are under two hectares.
The CRD urges residents under evacuation alert to have a plan to transport family members or co-workers outside of the area, pack essential items such as medications and valuable papers and move pets and livestock to a safe area. In the event they are evacuated, they should to shut off their natural gas. For more information, visit CRD Emergency Operations Facebook page at facebook.com/CRDEmergencyOperations as well as the CRD website at cariboord.ca/EOC.
More to come.