Wildfires in BC lead to evacuation orders, warnings and smoky skies | UKTN News

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While smoky skies fill much of British Columbia’s Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, 191 wildfires continue to burn in the province, leading to hundreds of people with evacuation warnings, as well as evacuation orders in the Peace region.

Currently, five of the active wildfires are considered notable: the Flood Falls Trail and Heather Lake wildfires at the Coastal Fire Center; the Fry Creek Wildfire at the Southeast Fire Center; and the Battleship Mountain and Bearhole Lake wildfires at the Prince George Fire Center.

An air quality advisory has been issued for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley due to high concentrations of particulate matter from wildfire smoke in BC and the United States.

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Order evacuation

On Sunday, the Fraser Valley Regional District and District of Hope issued an evacuation order for 12 properties in the Laidlaw and Hunter Creek areas, due to the nearby Flood Falls Trail wildfire.

Laidlaw is a small unincorporated settlement off Hwy 1, west of Hope.

“The hot, dry conditions and gusts of wind have increased fire behavior with a high fire risk,” said a district press release. Other properties in the area are under an evacuation alarm.

The wildfire from the Flood Falls Trail has now grown to 4.58 square miles and has prompted Hope County and the Fraser Valley Regional District to issue an evacuation warning.

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Residents are required to collect all essential items, including medicines and important documents, fill their vehicles’ gas tanks, arrange possible accommodation and implement a plan to move livestock safely, the district said in a press release.

Residents can reduce the risk of fire around their home by moving firewood out of their home; clearing debris from their roofs; keep grass length under 10 centimeters; removing combustible appliances, such as barbecues; and clearing leaves from under decks, balconies and patios, the release said.

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Evacuation Order for Hudson’s Hope, BC

An evacuation order was issued Saturday for the community of Hudson’s Hope, located southwest of Fort St. John in the Peace region.

The Battleship Mountain wildfire, which has scorched 242 square miles, has spiraled out of control about 50 miles west of the community of about 850 people.

“We’re trying to get as many people out of the area as possible,” Mayor Dave Heiberg said.

“The fire is very aggressive. It doesn’t want to be tamed.”

The Battleship Mountain wildfire burns 31 miles west of Hudson’s Hope, BC (BC Wildfire Service)

The Peace River Regional District has also issued evacuation orders for properties outside Hudson’s Hope, in electoral areas B and E.

A reception center has been opened in Fort. St John and, on social media, residents in nearby communities have provided support, shelter and space to stock livestock.

More than 65 firefighters, 12 helicopters and 16 heavy equipment are fighting the fire, which was first discovered on August 30.

BC Wildfire Information Officer Shannon Street says the Battleship Mountain fire has increased significantly in the past 48 hours.

“There is no real end in sight for precipitation in the forecast, so we expect that growth to continue,” she said, adding that it has been a very dry summer season and recent temperatures have been above the seasonal average. .

“During the day, we don’t get those cooler September temperatures that we would normally get.”

She says crews are installing sprinklers to protect structures such as the WAC Bennett Dam and the Hudson’s Hope community.

Eastgate evacuation warnings remain

The small community of Eastgate, near Manning Provincial Park in southern BC, is still on evacuation alert because of the Heather Lake fire, which burns about three miles south of Manning Park resort.

“An evacuation warning has been issued to prepare you to evacuate your premises or property if necessary,” said Sean Vaisler, director of emergency operations for the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District.

The fire has now grown to 86.63 square kilometers and is being fought by both Canadian and US wildfire agencies as the fire has spread beyond the international border.

The Heather Lake bushfire has triggered evacuation warnings for Eastgate, BC and parts of Manning Provincial Park in southern BC (BC Wildfire Service)

Smoky skies prompt warning

Sunday afternoon, lanes were eastbound on Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Hope for a route of 35 kilometers due to a wildfire nearby.

A detour is planned for traffic eastbound on Highway 9 and Highway 7, but several motorists said via social media that traffic jams had caused hours of waiting to get to the detour.

A wildfire that burned close to Highway 1 between Chilliwack and Hope on Sunday, September 11, 2022 has forced the closure of eastbound lanes for a stretch of 35 kilometers. (BC Wildfire Service)

Smoke from wildfires has turned the skies gray in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and the Greater Victoria.

A burning fire at a wood recycling facility in Vancouver is also contributing to poor air quality in multiple municipalities, including Burnaby, Richmond, New Westminster, Surrey and Coquitlam, says the organization Metro Vancouver.

It has issued an air quality advisory that warns against high concentrations of particulate matter. It says poor air quality is expected to continue through the weekend.

The sky turned a mix of orange and gray in Victoria on Saturday, as smoke from wildfires from across BC blanketed the south coast. (Georgie Smyth/UKTN News)

Metro Vancouver says particulate matter refers to solid or liquid droplets that can easily penetrate indoors because of their small size.

It advises people to delay or reduce outdoor physical activity, especially if breathing feels uncomfortable, including for children and pregnant women, and for those with underlying conditions such as lung disease, asthma and diabetes.

Metro Vancouver says air conditioning can provide some relief from pollution, and public buildings such as libraries can serve as refuges in some communities.

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