The Chief of a Fort St. James area First Nation is encouraging members voluntarily leave the community before flames from the Shovel Lake Wildfire force an evacuation order.
Alexander McKinnon of the Nak’azdli Whut’en told those gathered at a joint information session Wednesday night that 191 members left voluntarily Tuesday and a further 90 plus left Wednesday to escape smoke and ash from the blaze.
That smoke has also been making the wildfire very difficult to map, but the BC Wildfire Service now estimates the flames have scorched 684 square kilometres of forest.
While there was no significant growth in the fire’s perimeter Wednesday, stronger winds expected Thursday along with lower humidity and a high of 25 could cause more activity on the blaze that one wildfire official described as a large, angry fire.
Chief McKinnon says, with just one paved road in and out of the area, his main priority is the safety of the 700 plus community members.