July 17, 2017 3:23 pm
Updated: July 18, 2017 12:46 am

Ashcroft wildfire grows to 52,600 hectares: Officials confirm homes destroyed

WATCH: The Ashcroft Reserve fire remains the largest wildfire burning in the B.C. Neetu Garcha was allowed in to Loon Lake to survey the damage.

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The Ashcroft wildfire has now ballooned to 52,600 hectares in size and remains the biggest fire burning in B.C. right now.

Officials confirm homes in Ashcroft and Loon Lake have been destroyed due to the unpredictable wildfire that is still classified as “out of control.”

 

Global News has reached out to find out how many properties have been destroyed but crews have not been able to get in to these regions to assess the damage.

Photos from the evacuation of Loon Lake:

Fire activity in the region ramped up considerably on Saturday night due to the weather system that moved through.

“The cause of the growth in the last few days has definitely been due to the winds,” said fire information officer Max Birkner.

FULL COVERAGE: B.C. wildfires

The Ashcroft fire has forced a number of evacuations and placed other communities on alert.

Current evacuation orders:

  • East Clinton
  • Loon Lake
  • North of Ashcroft (including Boston Flats)
  • Village of Cache Creek
  • North of Cache Creek (towards Scottie Creek area)
  • West of Cache Creek (areas surrounding Bonaparte reserves)
  • East of Cache Creek (north side of Hwy 97 towards Skeetchestn)

Current evacuation alerts:

  • South East Clinton *NEW*
  • Green Lake South
  • Village of Clinton

WATCH: Evacuees from Ashcroft are also in Kamloops, and the fire they left behind is now the biggest in the province. It has tripled in size. Neetu Garcha has more:


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Residents of Ashcroft say they have never seen anything like the Ashcroft Reserve wildfire.

“It’s unbelievable,” one resident told Global News.

Air quality in the region is poor and smoke and haze hangs in the air. The Ministry of Health is urging residents to avoid strenuous outdoor activities. Anyone experiencing any of the following symptoms should contact their health care provider: difficulty breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways.

Exposure is of particular concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

Fire officials tell Global News it would take an unseasonably significant rainfall to change the current situation.

MAP: Wildfires burning around B.C. right now

Ground crews and heavy equipment will continue to focus on building control lines in an effort to protect property adjacent to the Ashcroft fire, and will perform controlled burning operations to support these control lines if conditions allow.

Fire crews say air tankers may also be used to support these efforts. Crews and equipment will continue working to hold the fire on the west side of Highway 97, and to protect properties in the area.

 

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