Wildfire firefighters in British Columbia continued to battle more than 300 blazes Sunday morning, with a particular emphasis on containing a 5,000-hectare fire near Ashcroft in the province’s central core.
The inferno at Ashcroft, blazing only 8.5 kilometers south of the town, saw firefighters working all night to suppress a “out of control” wildfire that has put the municipality of Ashcroft and Ashcroft Indian Band territory on evacuation notice.
“Crews worked all night to construct containment lines with heavy equipment, and Structure Protection personnel are on site today,” the British Columbia Wildfire Service wrote on its website early Sunday morning. “Overnight personnel strengthened the heavy machine guard on the west side of the fire, which held all day.”
“However, winds are posing substantial challenges to the fire’s east flank.” Later that day, the service prohibited anybody from accessing the area where the Tremont Creek wildfire was being suppressed. The restricted region extends from Highway 1 south of Ashcroft to west of Kamloops Lake and south to Forge Mountain.
Meanwhile, officials urged people escaping hazy skies on Sunday to stay with friends or relatives in order to free up hotel rooms for genuine wildfire evacuees who have “no other alternative.” According to Andrew Morton, senior regional manager for Emergency Management B.C., lodging in the Thompson-Okanagan region is limited. At this time of year, the region is busy with travelers.
“People who self-evacuated to bigger communities due to smoke circumstances should think about returning home,” Morton added. “The smoky circumstances will change and migrate, and self-evacuating to another town will not ensure that you will be able to escape the smoke.”
According to Morton, emergency services are attempting to keep evacuees as near to their home cities as possible, but they may be required to go several hours away in certain situations. He advised anybody under evacuation orders to make plans to remain with relatives and friends if feasible.