Evacuation order issued for B.C.’s oil and gas country

A map shows the area covered by an evacuation order issued by the Peace River Regional District May 13, 2023.

An out-of-control wildfire in northeastern B.C. is threatening a remote area primarily used by the oil and gas industry, prompting an evacuation order.

The Peace River Regional District issued the order at 5 p.m. Saturday evening.

“The Peace River Regional District has issued an evacuation order for the Donnie Creek and Tommy Lakes areas due immediate danger to life safety,” the district said in a statement.

The fire covers 500 hectares, and is burning about 200 km north of Fort St. John.

Loggers and oil and gas crews were told to leave immediately and head south to Fort St. John.

The order covers the following areas:

  • 89 km and north on the Tommy Lakes Road
  • Extending to the confluence of the Sikanni Chief River and the Buckinghorse River in the southeast
  • To the border with the Norther Rockies Regional Municipality in the north
  • To the Gutah and West Gutah Creek in the east.

The Peace River region has been hit hard by fires in May. A separate evacuation order covers 61 properties near the Red Creek fire closer to Fort St. John, though a third evacuation order around the Boundary Lake fire was downgraded to an evacuation alert Saturday morning.

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Fire officials said that as temperatures rise as expected through the weekend, fire activity and behaviour will increase.

“Due to the forecasted warming and drying trend for above-seasonal average conditions, the North Peace complex has brought in additional structure protection resources in anticipation of an increase in fire activity and fire behaviour,” BC Wildfire staff said in a report.

– With files from Darrian Matassa-Fung

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