Two wildfires are raging in British Columbia’s southern Interior as the 2018 wildfire season makes an aggressive start.
A fire about 55 kilometres northwest of Kamloops doubled in size from Thursday to Friday morning and has burned through 16-square kilometres of bush, said Nicole Bonnett with the BC Wildfire Service.
Crews continued to work on the out-of-control blaze and will get added help from the air and with heavy machinery on Friday.
“It is still putting up quite a bit of smoke so it still will be visible to quite a few communities in the area,” Bonnett said.
The fire is burning on the perimeter of a 2,000-square kilometre area that was scorched by B.C.’s largest wildfire of 2017. Bonnett said the new fire is separate from the one that destroyed forests, brush and buildings last summer.
The other out-of-control blaze has scorched about four-square kilometres of timber on the steep side of Anderson Lake, west of Lillooet.
Two properties along the narrow and twisting Highline Road have been ordered evacuated and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has issued evacuation alerts for almost 30 other addresses.
Investigators have been sent out to determine the cause of each fire, but Bonnett said it’s suspected that both were sparked by humans.
Just over 200 fires have been recorded since the season began on April 1 and the wildfire service website shows the fire risk for most of B.C. is now rated moderate to high, with several parts of the province rated at extreme risk.
A number of blazes larger than 10-square kilometres are burning north of Fort St. John and west of Fort Nelson in northeastern B.C., but they are not threatening any structures.
The wildfire service is making plans to fight some of those fires but Bonnett said others, especially those within provincial parks, will be left to burn themselves out.