Two out-of-control wildfires in British Columbia’s southern Interior have grown significantly in the 48 hours since being sparked and evacuation orders have been issued for dozens of surrounding properties.
The BC Wildfire Service says a fire has charred 50 square kilometres in the Pavilion area just north of Lillooet, while flames have burned at least 23 square kilometres around Sparks Lake, about 15 kilometres north of Kamloops.
The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District issued evacuation orders late Tuesday for more than two dozen properties west of Pavilion and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District has posted orders for 27 properties in the Sparks Lake area outside Kamloops, while about 150 nearby camps and cabins are on alert.
The wildfire service says its members are now battling a small fire reported Tuesday near Lytton, in the same area where crews have been working to control a blaze that forced evacuation alerts after breaking out last week.
All of those fires are suspected to be human-caused, although they remain under investigation.
“The hot weather continues to cause challenges. Multiple helicopters had to shut down due to engines overheating. Suppression efforts were impacted due to the helicopter’s restricted lifting capacity in heat, limiting the amount of water they can put in their buckets at a time,” reads a tweet from the BC Wildfire Service
In northeastern B.C., eight wildfires have been reported since lightning storms swept through the region Monday and Tuesday, forcing an evacuation alert for properties near a 30-square-kilometre fire northeast of Prince George.
Heat warnings remain in effect for much of B.C. and the wildfire service says there have been 20 new fires in the last two days as the risk across most of the province is now rated at high to extreme.
With files to the Canadian Press