Forest fire Evacuation Alert now an Order

Residents living in a rural area of B.C's southern interior, between Ashcroft and Kamloops, have been ordered to get out of the path of a raging wildfire.

An evacuation order was issued Sunday night for properties in the area known as Blue Sky Country, just east of Ashcroft, although the village of Ashcroft is not affected.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued the evacuation order for properties from the north tip of Barnes Lake, west to the Thompson River, south to Basque and east to Highway 97.

The order to get out came as high winds fanned the two-week-old Spatsum Creek blaze, which had charred an estimated 11 square kilometres by late Sunday night, an increase of more than two square kilometres within hours.

One structure was destroyed early Sunday but fire officials say the flames are moving in a northeast direction, away from homes and toward Highway 97C.

Thirty-five firefighters worked through the night to protect properties closest to the flames and additional crews backed by heavy machinery, air tankers and five helicopters dropping retardant are expected to resume work on the human-caused fire at first light.

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