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‘We’re in serious trouble’: concern growing over massive wildfires burning near Burns Lake

WATCH: Anxiety builds around province as B.C. wildfires threaten communities.

Concern is growing for communities in the northwest region of B.C., as wildfires continue to grow in the region.

Several large fires are threatening properties and First Nations communities, and communities like Burns Lake are on edge.

Evacuation orders have been issued for Island Lake, Purvis Lake, Gilmore Lake, Nadina Lake, Verdun Lake and Torkelson Lake.

READ MORE: B.C. wildfires map 2018: Current location of wildfires around the province

From Burns Lake, looking west. Credit: Neely Schienbein.
From Burns Lake, looking west. Credit: Neely Schienbein.
The Gilmore Lake fire from Highway 16. Credit: Neely Schienbein
The Gilmore Lake fire from Highway 16. Credit: Neely Schienbein

“Downpour is what we really need; we need more than sprinkles,” Bill Miller, the chair of the Bulkley Nechako Regional District told CKPG News.

“We’re in serious trouble up here.”

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WATCH: Water bombers fill up on way to fight the fire burning near Burns Lake

Water bombers fill up on way to fight fire burning near Burns Lake
Water bombers fill up on way to fight fire burning near Burns Lake
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The wildfires of most concern right now include the Nadina Lake wildfire, at 15,000 hectares; the Island Lake wildfire, at 9,000 hectares; the Verdun Mountain wildfire, at 1,100 hectares; the Gilmore Lake wildfire, at 200 hectares; and the Shovel Lake wildfire, at 16,500 hectares.

The Verdun Mountain fire. Credit: Axel Orr.
The Verdun Mountain fire. Credit: Axel Orr.

Many homes and communities are at risk.

A new evacuation order was issued Friday afternoon for the area south of Morice Owen Forest Service Road to Verdun Forest Service Road and Henkle Creek Forest Service Road.

The most worrisome fire at this time is the Shovel Lake fire, which is threatening properties in Fraser Lake and Fort St. James.

WATCH: As more B.C. wildfires pop up across the province, a shift in the weather could help. 

BC Wildfire: Officials expecting shift in weather
BC Wildfire: Officials expecting shift in weather
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The B.C. Wildfire Service has implemented an area restriction order to protect public safety due to the wildfire’s rate of spread and to avoid interference with fire suppression efforts. The area restriction order will remain in place until noon on Sept. 15, or until the order is rescinded.

An evacuation alert is in effect for east of the Augier Main Forest Service Road to the Trout and Sutherland Forest Service Roads, south of Sutherland River Park to Highway 16. This does not include the town site of Endako.

An evacuation alert has been expanded as of Thursday, Aug. 9. In addition, an evacuation order has been implemented by the Bulkley Nechako Regional District for east of the center of Taltapin Lake to West of the Sutherland FSR and Trout FSR. South of Hannay Lake to North of Tatin Lake.

READ MORE: Mount Gottfriedsen wildfire grows to 550 hectares

Photo from Francois Lake looking across to the wildfire. Credit: Nicola Ell
Photo from Francois Lake looking across to the wildfire. Credit: Nicola Ell Nicola Ell.

Many are concerned about the lack of resources fighting the fires.

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“We’re not seeing the kind of resources we’d like to see to be able to fight it,” John Rustad, MLA for Nechako Lakes, told CKPG News.

“They’re doing their best I know, the firefighters out there are doing their best but they need the support.”

Rustad said he would like to see a command centre open in northwest B.C.

“It just seems to be the fires out west are not being given the priority we’d like to see, given the severity of the fires and they’re putting homes and actual communities at risk.”

The Nadina wildfire. Credit: Rebecca Baker Moffet.
The Nadina wildfire. Credit: Rebecca Baker Moffet.
Burns Lake surrounded by wildfire smoke. Credit: John Sampson.
Burns Lake surrounded by wildfire smoke. Credit: John Sampson.
The sun in a very smokey Prince George. Credit: Colleen Hutton.
The sun in a very smokey Prince George. Credit: Colleen Hutton.
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