Forest fires | Evacuation alerts in Alberta and British Columbia

(Cariboo) Residents of the town of Cariboo are facing an evacuation alert over fears of an early start to the wildfire season in British Columbia and Alberta.

In addition to the 1,600-hectare Burgess Creek fire, about 600 kilometers north of Vancouver, the small town of Endako, 400 kilometers northwest, is also under evacuation alert, threatened by a fire that , according to the British Columbia Forest Fire Service, was only one kilometer west of town.

Mark Parker, president of the Bulkley-Nechako Regional District in British Columbia, said the evacuation alert for Endako was declared Sunday after winds of 60 km/h began pushing flames toward the community of a few dozen houses located on the north side of Highway 16.

“This fire broke out on Saturday afternoon and at that time the wind was blowing away from the community of Endako. But on Sunday, the wind completely turned and was blowing towards the community. »

Two helicopters were dispatched to the scene to fight the flames, which occupied approximately 25 hectares.

The Endako and Burgess Creek fires are believed to have been caused by human activity.

The Cariboo Regional District sounded the alert for the 32 square kilometer Burgess Creek Fire on Sunday evening. According to authorities, the blaze is dangerous and residents should prepare to leave as soon as possible.

Information released Monday by the British Columbia Forest Fire Service indicates that nine fires spread across the province in the previous 24 hours.

Authorities fear the season will be difficult this year as much of the province continues to experience significant drought.

Area residents are concerned about the lack of snowpack, which is at its lowest in British Columbia.

“We have received limited amounts of precipitation over the past month,” said Mr. Parker. The grass is therefore even drier than normal. It’s always a threat, and we’ve always dealt with grass fires in early spring, but this year they seem to be much more volatile because of the dry conditions. »

Separately, in northern Alberta, residents of Saprae Creek Estates, near Fort McMurray, were asked Sunday to prepare for a possible evacuation.

Remember that the forest fire season was the most destructive on record in Canada in 2023.

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