Evacuation order issued for new wildfire burning near Quesnel and Williams Lake

Smoke from a wildfire is shown crossing a road in British Columbia in this undated handout image provided by the BC Wildfire Service. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-BC Wildfire Service

A new out-of-control wildfire in British Columbia’s Interior has sparked a mandatory evacuation order in an area approximately 600 kilometres north of Vancouver.

The Cariboo Regional District says the Tzenzaicut Lake wildfire discovered on Saturday has become enough of a threat that an evacuation order has been issued for an area west of Highway 97 between Quesnel and Williams Lake.

Click to play video: 'Increasing wildfire risk across B.C.’s South Coast'
Increasing wildfire risk across B.C.’s South Coast

A wider zone around the evacuation area — just south of the community of Baker Creek — has been placed on alert.

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According to the BC Wildfire Service, the Tzenzaicut blaze remains relatively small at about one square kilometre but has doubled in size since Saturday evening, and fire crews say the blaze was likely ignited by a lightning strike or other natural means.

Meanwhile, the service says the Pelican Lake wildfire 300 kilometres to the west of Tzenzaicut Lake has grown to a “wildfire of note,” and communities such as Anahim Lake and the Ulkatcho First Nation remain under an alert for possible evacuation.

Click to play video: 'Wildfire breaks out neat Fort St. John'
Wildfire breaks out neat Fort St. John

B.C. also continues to battle a number of major wildfires in the Peace River region close to Fort St. John, but firefighters say changing wind directions and cooler weather have helped temper those blazes so far this weekend.

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