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B.C. Wildfire update Saturday: More evacuations amid new heat wave

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Provincial Fire Information Officer Jean Strong talks to Global News Morning about how residents who refuse to leave fire evacuation zones are complicating wildfire fighting efforts. – Jul 31, 2021

Increased activity on fires in B.C.’s interior forced the evacuation of more than 150 homes on Friday as crews grapple with the province’s second heat wave of the summer.

Crews were battling more than 240 fires on Saturday, while 60 evacuation orders had forced people from 3,120 properties across the province.

Read more: B.C. wildfire map 2021: Location and size of the fires burning around the province

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) issued an evacuation order for another 125 properties late Friday night due to the Flat Lake wildfire.

The order applies to homes in Electoral Area E (Bonaparte Plateau).

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The massive Flat Lake fire has grown to an estimated 45,526 hectares (450 square kilometres) in size.

BC Wildfire Service crews said they were hoping to conduct planned ignitions about 25 kilometres southwest of 100 Mile House, on Saturday, in a bid to remove unburned fuels and bring the fire’s perimeter into more accessible locations.

Meanwhile, the TNRD issued another evacuation order for 43 properties near Tunkwa Lake in Electoral Area J due to the Tremont Creek wildfire.

A new evacuation alert was also issued for parts of Electoral Areas I and J.

That fire has grown to an estimated 19,990 hectares (199.9 square km) in size. It is currently 18 km northwest of Logan Lake and is moving in a northeast direction.

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The District of Logan Lake has issued an evacuation alert, though the BC Wildfire Service said the community was not under imminent threat.

Read more: Wildfire smoke forecast to arrive in Lower Mainland on Saturday

The BC Wildfire Service also said that fire had shown “extremely vigorous” behaviour on Friday, and had progressed close to the edge of Tunkwa Provincial Park.

BC Parks has closed the park, which has been placed under an evacuation alert.

Click to play video: 'Stanley Park is being closed overnight to mitigate the risk of a wildfire' Stanley Park is being closed overnight to mitigate the risk of a wildfire
Stanley Park is being closed overnight to mitigate the risk of a wildfire – Jul 30, 2021

Closer to the Lower Mainland, wildfire officials said multiple overnight lightning strikes resulted in at least two wildfires on the northern half of Harrison lake.

Crews were on scene Saturday, and the wildfire service said there were no fires reported on the lake’s southern portion.

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Officials said the wildfire that broke out in E.C. Manning Park on Friday, which forced the closure of a portion of the park, grew on Saturday to 30 hectares.

The cause of that fire remains under investigation, and officials it was visible from Highway 3, but wasn’t affecting traffic.

The BC Wildfire Service says more than 2,000 firefighting personnel, including nearly 300 from out-of-province, are helping fight the blazes that have scorched 4,707.84 square kilometres so far.

Read more: Part of Manning Park closed as crews battle 18-hectare wildfire

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for much of the province, although the mercury is not forecast to touch the record highs of last month, when temperatures hit 31.7 C in Vancouver and nearly 50 C in Lytton before a wildfire wiped out most of the community.

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Drought is also affecting parts of the southern Interior, all of Vancouver Island and the south coast on level four out of five, requiring many municipalities and regions to implement water conservation measures.

— With files from the Canadian Press

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