First Nation reserve in B.C. evacuated by boat due to wildfire

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B.C. heat wave increasing fire danger
RELATED VIDEO: The heat wave that's gripped most of B.C. has led to the declaration of a provincewide fire ban, while first responders are doing patrols to ensure the unhoused stay safe in the heat. Angela Jung reports.

The Fort Nelson First Nation in northeast British Columbia issued a wildfire evacuation order for a remote riverside reserve on Tuesday.

The Nation told residents and visitors they had to leave by boat immediately.

The order covered the Kahntah Reserve, a few kilometres south of an out-of-control fire discovered on Monday.

The BC Wildfire Service said on its online dashboard that the blaze, measuring five hectares in size, was believed to have been caused by lightning.

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The evacuation order comes as the service announces a provincewide campfire ban, with the exception of the Haida Gwaii Forest District, which will take effect on Friday because of the increased risk of wildfire starts from current and forecasted weather conditions.

The Fort Nelson First Nation issued a state of local emergency for the Kahntah Reserve on Tuesday, saying the fire was in “close proximity” and there was an “imminent threat to life or property.”

It said First Nation representatives were authorized to restrict travel in the area and use any private property to deal with the situation.

The Kahntah Reserve is about 116 kilometres southeast of Fort Nelson.

Satellite imagery shows the reserve features a clearing on the bend of the Fontas River with a few buildings and other structures.

The wildfire service says there are about 100 active wildfires in B.C.

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