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Hot, dry, windy conditions could complicate wildfire-fighting efforts in BC

(Source: BC Wildfire Service)

Evacuation alerts in place as wildfires threaten homes in northeastern BC

FORT ST. JOHN (NEWS 1130) – Unseasonable heat is once again searing northeastern BC, fueling wildfires that have prompted evacuation alerts around two communities and are threatening just under 100 homes.

The Peace River Regional District says people living about 60 kilometres northeast of Fort St. John should be ready to leave on short notice, as the Siphon Creek wildfire is uncontained and burns nearby.

It has now charred an estimated 40 square kilometres — more than doubling in size since Friday — in part because of temperatures that reached 23 yesterday and are expected to reach 27 degrees this week.

Winds gusting to 40km/h are also forecast, potentially complicating firefighting efforts in the Cecil Lake area about 30 kilometres east of Fort St. John, where two small wildfires threaten a number of homes.

Fire Information Officer Emily Epp with the BC Wildfire Service says the Voight Creek wildfire is now 85 per cent contained, and guards surround 75 per cent of the Clearview fire. But crews will keep a close watch on conditions through the day.

“We did see warm weather and windy conditions this weekend in the Peace Region, which definitely led to this increase of fire activity up in the area,” she explains.

“We are seeing that the next few days are holding similar weather conditions, although there may be a downturn in the weather. We are not positive that that will bring rain with it so we are just hoping for the best.”

Wildfire experts say 40 active fires larger than 10 hectares are currently burning in the province.

Meanwhile, it’s also a frightening situation next door in Alberta. Approximately 700 people are out of their homes, while 3,000 others are on voluntary evacuation notice as crews battle an out-of control wildfire just south of Fort McMurray.