Evacuation orders have been issued for homes near two growing wildfires in B.C.’s Interior, where an unprecedented heat wave has created dangerous fire conditions.
As of Wednesday morning, two wildfires, one north of Lillooet and one north of Kamloops, were burning out of control, according to the Vancouver Sun. With both blazes, authorities have informed homeowners to either evacuate or be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.
The latest evacuation order was issued late Tuesday night in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District for homes in a large area of West Pavilion Road due to “immediate danger to life safety.”
The wildfire, called the McKay Creek Wildfire, about 23 kilometers (23 miles) north of Lillooet, was spotted Tuesday afternoon, and by 10:30 p.m., had grown to an estimated 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres), or about 50 square kilometers, reports CBC Canada News.
The other big wildfire – the Sparks Lake fire, is located about an hour northwest of Kamloops, has grown to about 23 square kilometers (9 square miles) in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District just north of Kamloops Lake.
Kevin Skrepnek, the regional district’s emergency program coordinator, told CBC Radio that police were going door to door at ranches and vacation homes in the affected area to let residents know it was time to leave.
“There’s been a pretty significant increase in the fire activity out there, and as anyone in Kamloops can attest to, there’s a very dramatic smoke column visible to the northwest,” he said.
Across the province, 25 wildfires are burning. Of those, eight are believed to be human-caused, nine are lightning-caused, and eight are undetermined. Both the McKay Creek wildfire and the Sparks Lake wildfire are suspected of being human-caused.
In the last week, 64 new fires were reported in the province as the heatwave causes conditions that are “historically abnormal,” according to Jean Strong of the B.C. Wildfire Service.