UPDATE: Wildfire south of Norman Lake now 17,000 hectares in size, 20% contained
Eighty people are still under an evacuation order because of a wildfire south of Norman Lake. This fire is showing unpredictable and aggressive fire behaviour and is very visible from Highway 16.
The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako issued the evacuation alert and order this past weekend for residents of Norman Lake and area.
An evacuation alert has been put in place for Little Bobtail Lake and Naltesby Lake (Bobtail Lake).
The alert is for the area south of Highway 16 from Sob Lake Road to the eastern boundary of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako south to the end of Naltesby Lake including the areas of Blackwater Road, Bobtail Forest Service Road, Bobtail Connector Forest Service Road, Sob Lake Road, and the Cluculz Lake area.
The fire was first spotted last Saturday and is posing a risk to property, homes and wildlife. Dry conditions in the region are making it harder for firefighters to suppress the blaze.
The fire is now estimated to be 17,000 hectares in size. It is now 20 per cent contained. It can be very well seen from Highway 16.
Premier Christy Clark will be in Prince George Friday to get an update on the efforts to fight this aggressive fire. There has been no structural loss from the fire to date.
242 firefighters, 11 helicopters, 23 pieces of heavy equipment and eight airtankers are battling the flames. Additional ground, air, and equipment resources will be used today to slow the rate of spread.
Aircraft will continue to support ground crews today, cooling down spot fires. More than 250,000 litres of water were dumped from airtankers on this fire yesterday.
The fire growth was minimal overnight. An increase in winds is expected to continue until later this afternoon.
Wind speeds of 20-25 km/hr have been forecasted from the north/northeast with potential gusts of up to 50 km/hr.
Temperatures are expected to be slightly lower today.
A fire camp is now established and fully operational.
The official cause is under investigation although the fire is believed to be human caused.
BC Parks has closed Dahl Lake Provincial Park and Bobtail Mountain Provincial Park to all recreational users and has ordered the evacuation of any users within the park.
Meanwhile, the Wildfire Management Branch is urging anyone involved with industrial activities to exercise extreme caution because of a heightened risk of wildfire in the Prince George Fire Centre.
Since April 1, they have responded to 31 wildfires. It is suspected that all but one of these fires were human-caused and therefore preventable.
Open fires are currently prohibited in the Prince George Fire Centre.
PHOTOS: Fire near Little Bobtail Lake and Naltesby Lake (all photos courtesy Gillene Gauthier)