July 11, 2014 1:30 pm

Wildfire near Tumbler Ridge grows to 4,500 hectares: Evacuation still in place

WATCH ABOVE: Fire information officer Jill Kelsh speaks to Sonia Sunger on BC1.

VANCOUVER – The wildfire burning near Tumbler Ridge, called the Red Deer Creek Wildfire, has grown to 4,500 hectares and is zero per cent contained.

It was 3,100 hectares on Wednesday and was originally measured to be 5,000 hectares on Thursday but has been downgraded in size.

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The blaze is located about 61 kilometres southeast of Tumbler Ridge and was started on Sunday by lightning.

The fire has been aggressive since the start and forced the evacuation of about 200 people from two oil and gas work camps. Fire information officer Jill Kelsh said the Wildfire Management Branch was working with personnel from the oil-an-gas firms to protect the wellheads and the work camps. She said most of the structures are metal and are surrounded by gravel, which gives added protection to the sites.

Those evacuation orders remain in place.

Kelsh said crews were given a bit of a break on Thursday as the fire did not grow in size and they were able to get closer to the blaze. However, it is expected to be a hot and dry weekend, which could fuel this fire and spark others.

Everyone is reminded to be vigilant about putting out campfires safely and discarding of waste such as cigarette butts as they can spark fires easily.

There are currently 120 firefighters at the wildfire with five helicopters and 11 pieces of heavy equipment.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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