FRASER LAKE (NEWS 1130) — The state of emergency and evacuation order for a community in central B.C. affected by wildfire have been lifted.
An evacuation alert is still in effect for part of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.
Information Officer Molly Blower with the Prince George Fire Centre tells NEWS 1130 the fire — 236 hectares in size and about five kilometers east of Fraser Lake — has now been downgraded to ‘held’ rather than ‘uncontrolled,’ and is 50 per cent contained.
#BREAKING: The #BCWildfire evacuation order for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako near Prince George has been lifted. BUT there's still an evacuation alert in effect for one area (see map below). The fire is now 50% contained. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/3lJBapBK30
— Lauren Boothby (@laurby) May 13, 2019
The blaze forced the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to declare a state of emergency on Saturday, but it was revoked Sunday evening.
Blower says five BC Wildfire firefighters will be patrolling the area overnight, and the more than 40 personnel that were fighting the flames today will return Monday morning, as well as a helicopter.
She describes the conditions as of Sunday evening.
“The weather is still quite dry,” she says. “The winds have reduced, which resulted in the great progress made today.”
District chair Gerry Thiessen told NEWS 1130 he was struck by just how early the wildfire season has started this year.
“Well certainly the fire came up quite quickly. It started out small. With the wind it gathered momentum.”
Thank you to everyone that has kept the people of the Fraser Lake/Lejac area in their thoughts and prayers during another wildfire event. Very thankful for the RDBN and the BC Wildfire Service for all their work today! pic.twitter.com/VGjx7MOvzg
— Mayor Sarrah Storey (@northernstorey) May 12, 2019
A number of communities around B.C. saw record-breaking temperatures over the last week, including Vanderhoof and Burns Lake — which are on either side of Fraser Lake.
The area that was burning is described as being a mixture of both grass and timber.
Despite some rain in the forecast on Tuesday for the region, Thiessen says “significant precipitation” is needed.
“We’ve gone since almost Christmas — very early in January — since we’ve had significant snowfall. So we need to get moisture into the ground.”
Thiessen is urging anyone who plans to be in the backcountry to take extra care due to the dry conditions.
The wildfire is believed to be human-caused, but that is still under investigation.
-With files from Renee Bernard, Adam Cooper, The Canadian Press