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British Columbia: Tumbler Ridge residents urged to flee immediately as wildfire burns closer to town

The community of 2,400 people has mostly been evacuated.

The Tumbler Ridge Fire - The BC Wildfire Service continues to respond to the West Kiskatinaw River (G70645) and Peavine Creek (G70644) wildfires in the Dawson Creek Zone. These incidents both experienced aggressive fire behaviour and growth over the past 24 hours. Source - BC Wildfire Service
The Tumbler Ridge Fire - The BC Wildfire Service continues to respond to the West Kiskatinaw River (G70645) and Peavine Creek (G70644) wildfires in the Dawson Creek Zone. These incidents both experienced aggressive fire behaviour and growth over the past 24 hours. Source - BC Wildfire Service

The community of 2,400 people has mostly been evacuated, but some residents refuse to comply with the order to leave.

The community of 2,400 people has mostly been evacuated but Tumbler Ridge fire Chief Dustin Curry says about 150 people remained on Friday, even as the fire is now burning about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the town, according to Castenet.

As of Friday evening, 90 percent of the town had left, officials say, urging those who remain to flee immediately and register online or at reception centres in Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, and Fort St. John, which will open 10 a.m. Saturday. 

Wind direction is forecast to change on Saturday, according to the B.C. Wildfire Services (BCWS), potentially pushing the fire away from Tumbler Ridge. 

“We are certainly not in the clear at this point, but we are leaning toward a little bit of cautious optimism,” said Karley Desrosiers with the BCWS on Friday afternoon, reports CBC News Canada.

On Vancouver Island, Highway 4 remains closed due to a wildfire east of Port Alberni, prompting the closure of the major east-west route on Tuesday.

A four-hour detour along rough backroads was scheduled to have reopened after closing Friday so crews could extract a vehicle that rolled into a lake along the route.

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