The wildfire in British Columbia’s (Canada) Fraser Canyon has escalated into a severe crisis, prompting evacuations of dozens of properties and a local state of emergency.
The Kookipi Creek wildfire, burning for weeks between Lytton and Boston Bar, has grown due to strong winds, pushing it further east and threatening homes, campgrounds, and recreational sites.
As of the latest reports, the fire was estimated to be around 2,000 hectares, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. The Fraser Valley Regional District has issued a local state of emergency for Electoral Area A and an evacuation order around the Nahatlatch River.
The closure of Highway 1, a major route, has likely impacted local and through traffic, affecting businesses and residents who rely on this route. The highway is expected to remain closed between Lytton and Hope, with updates pending.
The evacuations are not limited to residents; they extend to popular campgrounds and recreational sites, striking a blow to the tourism industry, a vital source of income for many local businesses.
According to a report from CTV News, properties under evacuation order include Blue Lake Resort, Washtock Family Campground, Squakum Campground, Flat Iron Recreation Site, Log Creek Recreation Site, Nahatlatch River Recreation Site, Nahatlatch River Cabins, and REO Rafting.
In response to the wildfire, local authorities have acted swiftly, issuing evacuation orders and alerts. The urgency of these orders is clear: “Due to the threat of life and safety, you must leave the designated area immediately. Failure to do so could result in injury and loss of life,” the order reads.
Among the properties under evacuation order are Blue Lake Resort, Washtock Family Campground, Squakum Campground, and several other sites. Evacuees have been directed to check in at either Boston Bar Family Place or Hope Secondary School.
The human side of this disaster is poignant. Residents of Canyon Alpine, Boston Bar, and North Bend have been urged to prepare to leave on short notice, a stark reminder of the wildfire’s potential to upend lives without warning.
Community response has been significant, with residents complying with evacuation orders and local businesses offering support where they can. The unity and resilience of the community are being tested in these trying times.
Beyond Fraser Canyon, the wildfire situation is grim across British Columbia. In a separate report, three motorhome parks near Keremeos, B.C have been ordered to evacuate because of a nearby wildfire. More and more campground and RV parks within B.C and nearby areas are affected of the wildfire.
Officials have warned that fire behavior could be fast and unpredictable over the coming days due to a mix of dry conditions, recent heat waves, forecasted gusting winds, and dry lightning. Cliff Chapman of the B.C. Wildfire Service urged anyone who might normally be tempted to ignore evacuation orders that “now is not the time” to take chances.