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Two out of control wildfires spark evacuation orders in British Columbia

Evacuation orders have been issued for homes near two growing wildfires in B.C.’s Interior.

Two out of control wildfires spark evacuation orders in British Columbia
The BC Wildfire Service continues suppression efforts on the Sparks Lake wildfire (K21001). Due to the hot and dry weather, increased fire behavior is being seen on site and the fire is now estimated to be about 23 square kilometers in size. Source - BC Wildfire Service on June 29, 2021.
The BC Wildfire Service continues suppression efforts on the Sparks Lake wildfire (K21001). Due to the hot and dry weather, increased fire behavior is being seen on site and the fire is now estimated to be about 23 square kilometers in size. Source - BC Wildfire Service on June 29, 2021.

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 McKay Creek wildfire is classified as “Out of Control” and is estimated to be nearly 5,000 hectares. Source – B.C. Wildfire Service

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.

Written By

Karen Graham is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for environmental news. Karen's view of what is happening in our world is colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in man's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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