Tumbler Ridge evacuated due to massive, aggressive wildfire

Town evacuated due to fire

The entire town of Tumbler Ridge has been evacuated Thursday due to a massive wildfire that has already grown to an estimated 9,600 hectares in size after it was first discovered Tuesday.

The West Kiskatinaw River wildfire is currently burning about 10 kilometres east of Tumbler Ridge, but the extreme fire behaviour it has shown has led to the Peace River Regional District to issue an evacuation order for the entire town. Residents must report to reception centre in Dawson Creek at the Ovintiv Events Centre.

An aerial video taken Thursday afternoon and posted to Facebook by the BC Wildfire Service shows the “intensity and volatility of forest fuels at the head of the fire,” the BCWS says.

“Fire activity is expected to increase further as easterly winds increase this afternoon,” the BCWS said. “A shift to westerly winds is expected on Saturday; until then, easterly winds will continue to restrict ground and aerial suppression.”

Highway 52 East, east of Tumbler Ridge, is closed due to another wildfire, the 1,250-hectare Peavine Creek wildfire. As a result, evacuees must flee the area northwest via Highway 29.

The cause of the fire is believed to be from a lightning strike.

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