Evacuation rescinded, but fires still burning near Fort Nelson

The evacuation alert for the Propher River and Klua Lakes area has been rescinded, but many parts of northeast BC continues to burn.

The Wildfire Management Branch says eight new fires have started in the Fort Nelson Fire Zone over the weekend, with four larger ones remaining active and scorching more than 1,000 hectares of land.

According to the branch, fires of note include the Thetlaandoa Creek fire, 100 kilometres northeast of Fort Nelson. That has grown to nearly 1,000 hectares in size. The fire had been “burning vigorously,” according to the branch, but spokeswoman Jillian Kelsh said a cold front over the weekend dampened the fire’s spread.

The cooler weather will allow a team of about 80 firefighters to begin full suppression of the blaze by Tuesday evening, possibly earlier, Kelsh said.

Another fire continues to burn near Dunedin River, some 95 kilometres west of Fort Nelson. That fire has grown to about 240 hectares , although Kelsh says officials are watching the fire’s activity, but are not actively suppressing it.

The same can be said for another 200-hectare fire near Grayling River, 75 kilometres north of Toad River. All fires are believed to have been caused by lightning, said Kelsh.

Kelsh says the region has seen about triple the number of fires this year compared to last, and is seeing more larger fires.

“We’re definitely starting busier than we typically do,” she said.

“We hope for the June rain. If we don’t get them, it will probably be a busier season.”

Meanwhile, the fire at Klua Lakes remains active and is about 20 per cent contained, according to branch information. Some 59 firefighters and seven helicopters continue to extinguish the blaze. An evacuation alert for the area, which included the Prophet River community, was issued May 21 after the wildfire dramatically grew to nearly 2,000 hectares.

Fire danger ratings are at high to extreme throughout the Fort Nelson region, she says. Open fires larger than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide are now prohibitied across the Prince George Fire Centre. Campfires are allowed, but they must be full extinguished and the ashes cold to the touch before being left unattended.