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State of emergency cancelled, evacuation order lifted amid wildfire near Prince George

Last Updated May 13, 2019 at 12:02 pm MDT

A growing wildfire in Northern B.C. in Fraser Lake near Prince George. (Source: BC Wildfire Service, Twitter)

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako has declared a state of emergency due to a wildfire burning near Lejac

The Lejac wildfire is estimated to be about 260 hectares in size and is 50 per cent contained

A number of residents have been forced to leave their homes and evacuation alerts are also in place for some areas

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.

The blaze forced the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to declare a state of emergency on Saturday, but it was revoked Sunday evening.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.

RELATED: Growing wildfire in Northern B.C. believed to be human-caused

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.”

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