Evacuation order downgraded to alert for wildfire near Chetwynd, B.C.

Evacuation order downgraded to alert for wildfire near Chetwynd, B.C.
An out-of-control wildfire in northeastern British Columbia has triggered the province's first evacuation of this year's fire season. A wildfire burns in the Peace River Regional District of British Columbia in a May 5, 2023, handout photo.

The Peace River Regional District has rescinded an evacuation order issued last night in response to an out-of-control wildfire in northeastern British Columbia.

An update posted to the district’s website says the order has been downgraded to an evacuation alert, and residents in the area near Chetwynd have been told to be ready to leave on short notice.

The BC Wildfire Service website says local RCMP and the Chetwynd Fire Department had conducted a “tactical evacuation” for homes in the immediate area of the Wildmare Creek fire, estimated at about 50 hectares in size.

The Peace Region has been one of the driest in B.C. since last summer, and a recent bulletin showed average snowpack there was 65 per cent of normal.

Forests Minister Bruce Ralston told reporters at the legislature that the province is “ready” for what’s to come this summer after B.C. saw its worst-ever season last year, with more than 28,000 square kilometres burned.

The Ministry of Transportation’s DriveBC information service shows a 10-kilometre stretch of Highway 97 has reopened to escorted single-lane alternating traffic.

The BC Wildfire Service says human activity is the suspected cause of the blaze.

The early start to this year’s wildfire season includes more than 100 active fires throughout B.C., with four new fires sparked in the last 24 hours.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2024.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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