The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality has issued an evacuation order and state of emergency as the Petitot River wildfire continues to spread, threatening a nearby gas plant.
The municipality issued the order over the noon hour today as high winds and dry conditions in the area have pushed the fire within 10 kilometres of the Pennwest Wildboy plant.
The lightning-caused fire has spread to nearly 3,700 hectares some 115 kilometres northeast of Fort Nelson. At last word, 15 people were working at the plant.
“It’s the weather conditions that are driving (the order) and extremely dry conditions out there” that are moving the fire in the direction of the plant, said Erin La Vale, emergency program co-ordinator with the municipality.
According to the BC Wildfire Service, the fire is being monitored but not suppressed. There is one helicopter currently involved in monitoring efforts.
The evacuation order is bounded by the longitude 120 55.0’W to 121 15.0’W; the Petitot River to the north; and latitude 59 25.0’N to the south.
The Kimea area around the fire remains on evacuation alert.
No residential homes are threatened, said La Vale, noting the area is fairly remote with only industrial activities and infrastructure in the area.
The municipality says anyone in the area must leave immediately and:
• Close all windows and doors
• Shut off all gas and electrical appliances, other than refrigerators and freezers
• Close gates (latch) but do not lock
• Gather your family/co-workers and ensure everyone is accounted for: take a neighbour or someone who needs help
• Take critical items (medicine, purse, wallet, and keys) only if they are immediately available. Take pets in pet kennels
or on leash.
• Do not use more vehicles then you have to.
• Do not use the telephone unless you need emergency service.
Call to provincial wildfire officials and Pennwest were not immediately returned.
We will update this story as information becomes available.