An Evacuation Alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako on July 29, 2018, due to the Shovel Lake Wildfire.
The Evacuation Alert is in effect for the area East of the Augier Main Forest Service Road (FSR) to the Trout and Sutherland Forest Service Roads, South of Sutherland River Park to Highway 16. This includes parts of Electoral Area B, C and D. This alert does not include the town site of Endako.
The Regional District is urging those in the evacuation area to be prepared for an evacuation order by gathering essential items and having them be readily available for quick departure, locating family members or co-workers and planning to meet outside the evacuation, should an evacuation order be called.
The BC Wildfire service is currently responding to a new fire approximately 25 kilometres northwest of Fraser Lake.
The wildfire is reportedly around 291 hectares in size and is burning close to Shovel Lake.
Smoke coming from the fire is said to be highly visible throughout the Fraser Lake area, along the Highway 16 corridor.
The BC Wildfire Service is fighting the fire from two access points. There are 53 personnel, nine pieces of heavy equipment, two air tankers and five helicopters on site, as of July 28. A separate group of air tankers is positioned in Smithers.
At this time, the Shovel Lake Fire is not a wildfire of note, as it is at a burning rank of two and three — a low-to-moderate vigorous service fire. The BC Wildfire Service States that it is currently burning in timber and the surrounding cut-blocks.
Numerous homes and properties are located within a 10-kilometre radius of the fire, but they are not currently threatened.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown and is under investigation.
According to the BC Wildfire Service, 64 fires — 42 lighting-caused and 22 human caused — have started in the Northwest Fire Centre since April 1, 2018. Throughout the province, there are currently 111 fires burning, while there have been 852 fires since April 1.
The BC Wildfire Service is reportedly bracing for some additional fire starts over the weekend, likely as a result of the high fire danger rating, combined with heat and lightning in the forecast.
Furthermore, air quality advisories are in effect for the majority of the province due to smoke from wildfires. Most of this smoke can be linked to local fires, while some, especially in the northern-half of the province, has drifted in from other provinces, as well as internationally.