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Evacuation Order Due to Fast-Growing Kamloops Wildfire Expands by Hundreds

Wildfire crews in Kamloops, B.C., are expected to be challenged by gusty winds Monday, as they fight the fast-moving Ross Moore Lake wildfire.

It’s now less than 10 kilometers away from Kamloops’ city limits, south of Aberdeen.

Hot, dry conditions fueled the flames over the weekend.

The blaze doubled in size in 24 hours—growing from 700 to 1,800 hectares.

As a result, the Thompson Nicola Regional District significantly expanded its evacuation order and alerts by several hundred properties Sunday night.

A total of 344 addresses within the regional district are under an evacuation order, while an additional 157 are on evacuation alert.

“Most of what was on alert at the beginning of the day was moved to an order. And then we now have new areas under alert pushing further out, mainly to the east and west,” said Kevin Skrepnek, the director of the Emergency Operations Centre for the Thompson Nicola Regional District Sunday night.

The evacuation order includes the Lac Le Jeune area, Long Lake Road and adjoining roads south of the intersection with Goose Lake Road. Areas south of Goose Lake Road, including Edith Lake Road, and all areas west of Highway 5A from Napier Lake to just south of the Knutsford Campground are also impacted.

A small portion of the City of Kamloops is on alert as well.

Those in the area must be prepared to leave immediately.

Skrepnek says the region has seen three days of exceptionally aggressive fire activity, which is quite visible from Kamloops.

“I think just that ongoing activity, coupled with the fact that we don’t really see a whole lot of relief in sight here, is definitely cause for concern and why BC Wildfire (Service) has made these recommendations,” Skrepnek told CTV News.

He says many rural areas, where access can be a concern, have been impacted as well

Skrepnek says being proactive and getting people out of harm’s way as soon as possible is key to maintaining public safety.

No injuries have been reported so far and no structures have been damaged, though there are a number of buildings in the fire’s path.

“There are areas where it is burning quite close to homes,” said Skrepnek, who described the region at risk as “very agricultural.”

“So there’s a ton of livestock relocation going on right now. Folks have been working to evacuate pets and animals and cattle out of the area. Obviously, that comes with logistical concerns, and of course also some safety factors, given that the fire is is still burning,” he added.

The BC Wildfire Service has said dry, hot and windy conditions increased local fire activity.

While there’s a slight chance of rain set for Monday, warmer and dry conditions are forecast for much of the week.

“We’re only in mid-July here—there’s likely still a lot of fire season ahead. So if there are future evacuation orders, if there is a change in terms of where we’re going to be directing people to, that will be reflected in the material that we put out,” said Skrepnek.

Kamloops has activated its Emergency Support Services team and a reception centre has been set up at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre.

To receive emergency support services, evacuees are asked to self-register using the Evacuee Registration & Assistance (ERA) tool.

Those who’ve been forced to flee are being told to make arrangements to stay with family or friends, if possible.

Residents on evacuation order are advised to gather family, bring a neighbour or someone who needs help, bring pets in kennels or on a leash, and pack critical items like medicine, purses, wallets and keys, if they are immediately available.

Source : CTV