Winds fan northeast B.C. wildfire, but aid crews working to save Tumbler Ridge
June 12, 2023 By The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Gusty winds have kicked up the activity of a huge wildfire in northeastern British Columbia, forcing evacuation orders for another 14 remote properties outside Fort Nelson.
The Peace River Regional District issued two evacuation orders Sunday as winds fanned the 4,660-square-kilometre Donnie Creek blaze.
The BC Wildfire Service says more than 140 people are working to contain the lightning-caused wildfire that was sparked May 12 and is now the second-largest ever recorded in the province.
It says winds responsible for the weekend trouble around Fort Nelson aided firefighters on a separate blaze south of Fort St. John that prompted Thursday’s evacuation of the entire northeastern community of Tumbler Ridge.
Gusts there have kept the nearly200-square-kilometre West Kiskatinaw River fire away from the threatened community of 2,400, although the evacuation order remains in effect.
Environment Canada is calling for showers in the northeast on Tuesday, with between five and 10 millimetres of rain in the Fort St. John area, although the weather office says there is also a risk of gusty winds and lightning.
In all, five wildfires of note are among more than 80 blazes throughout B.C.
That includes the stubborn 2.5-square-kilometre fire burning in steep terrain above Highway 4 on Vancouver Island, forcing the continued closure of the main route to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet.
A statement from the Ministry of Transportation on Monday says there’s no estimate for when the route might reopen, and an update on the condition of the highway is expected Tuesday.
It says the province is assessing slope conditions and the danger of trees and debris tumbling down to the route that’s been closed for a week.
Convoys of trucks are scheduled twice each day to deliver gas, food and other essential goods to the cut-off communities using a rough, four-hour detour.
All other drivers are asked to travel only for essential purposes.
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