Gusty Winds Complicate BC Wildfire Fight, but Human-Caused Blazes Also a Factor

Gusty Winds Complicate BC Wildfire Fight, but Human-Caused Blazes Also a Factor
Fires burn near Big Creek, B.C., in a handout file photo. (The Canadian Press/HO-BC Wildfire Service)
The Canadian Press

Gusty winds and unsettled weather in parts of British Columbia helped kick up several wildfires over the weekend, forcing a number of evacuation orders and alerts.

Four regional districts, from the Sunshine Coast to the Cariboo, central Okanagan and Peace River, issued or upgraded evacuation orders between Friday and Sunday.

The most recent order covers the Glen Lake fire west of Peachland, a suspected human-caused blaze spotted on Saturday that the BC Wildfire Service says has burned more than four square kilometres and forced the evacuation of eight recreational properties.

The other three evacuation orders affect a total of 54 rural properties around the Horn Lake fire west of Williams Lake, the Clowhom Lake blaze northwest of Sechelt, and the Stoddart Creek fire north of Fort St. John.

As a gusty cold front swept through B.C. over the weekend, the Peace River Regional District upgraded orders and alerts on the northeast corner of the Stoddart Creek blaze, which has charred 295 square kilometres and has remained out of control since it was started, possibly by humans, in mid-May.

Evacuation alerts were also posted for blazes north and east of Pemberton, including for several properties at Spruce Lake in the South Chilcotin Mountain Park as the 93-square-kilometre Downton Lake blaze threatens the southern corner of the park known for its fishing and wild game viewing.

The wildfire service says the number of active blazes in B.C. remains above 400, with seven new fires started in the last 24 hours and 154 ranked as out of control.