UPDATE: The NRRM has lifted the evacuation alert.

FORT NELSON, B.C. – A forest fire has started near Coal River, B.C. and Highway 97 and the Northern Rockies Municipality has issued an evacuation alert for the area.

The fire is located approximately five km southwest of Coal River and only one kilometre south of Highway 97.

With the fire so close to Highway 97, travellers should watch Drivebc.ca for updates on the Highway heading north to the Yukon. As of Thursday evening, the highway remains open in both directions.

The fire is 30 hectares in size, and the Wildfire Service believes it was caused by lightning. The fire is currently classified as out of control.

The B.C. Wildfire Service does have personnel in the area along with aviation support. The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality has issued an evacuation alert for the following area:

  • Along the Alaska Highway from the Smith River Forest Service Road to just south of Fireside, a 10km wide strip bordered with the Liard River on the south side and 8 km off the highway to the north.

The wildfire is located in the Coal River area approximately 3.3 km kilometres southeast of the Coal River Lodge. See the Evacuation Alert (PDF) for more information, including a map of the impacted area.

An evacuation alert means residents and businesses in the area need to be prepared to leave the area with little notice if the alert is changed to an evacuation order.

In a tweet, the Wildfire Service said they recommended the alert be issued due to potential impacts to infrastructure and danger to life and safety.

Coal River is 360 km from Fort Nelson and approximately 60 km from the Liard River Hotsprings.

Adam Reaburn is the owner of Moose FM and Energeticcity.ca. Adam has been working in broadcasting for over 20 years. Adam and his wife Tammy have lived in Fort St. John for over 18 years.