The BC Wildfire Service says unusually dry conditions are challenging crews fighting wildfires in the Cassiar fire zone.
Normally, deciduous tree stands are considered safe zones for firefighters, but the severe lack of moisture in the ground and trees means the areas are providing little to no reprieve. Officials say the drought codes are the highest on record in the past 31 years for this time of year.
Crews are currently responding to 25 active fires in the zone, including the Alkali Lake and Elbow Lake fires.
The Alkali Lake fire is now at 800 hectares and forced the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine to issue an evacuation order for the nearby village of Telegraph Creek Sunday afternoon.
The 450 hectare Elbow Lake fire is 50 kilometres north of Dease Lake. The fire is burning west of Highway 37 and although it hasn’t jumped the road, transportation ministry and wildfire personnel are keeping a close watch on the route.
Muddy Lakes fire is a cluster of six fires on the north side of the Tahltan River that have connected to cover 5000 hectares.
The Lutz Creek fire is estimated at 40 hectares and is located southwest of Lower Post, about 91 kilometres northeast of Cassiar. The BC Wildfire Service says two para-attack crews have deployed to get it under control and stop it from jumping the river.
Todagin Creek fire is about 90 kilometres south of Dease Lake and about 15 hectares. The fire is burning in high elevation and is not a threat to any communities, highways, or powerlines at this time.
The Kinaskin Lake fire is 110 kilometres south of Dease Lake and about 1.5 hectares. The fire started around 1 p.m. Sunday and is being actioned by a ground crew and air support.
The wildfire service says other fires in the Cassiar zone are being monitored for the protection of life and property.
It says crews are responding in a priority sequence.