May 20th, 2024

Fort Nelson, B.C., wildfire expands to 127 square kilometres, but away from town

By The Canadian Press on May 16, 2024.

British Columbia's wildfire service says the blaze threatening the northern community of Fort Nelson now spans nearly 130 square kilometres, but it was spreading away from the town yesterday along its southern flank. A view of the Parker Lake wildfire near Fort Nelson, B.C. is shown on Monday, May 13, 2024 in a BC Wildfire Service handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-BC Wildfire Service **MANDATORY CREDIT**

FORT NELSON, B.C. – British Columbia’s wildfire service says the blaze threatening the northern community of Fort Nelson now spans nearly 130 square kilometres, but it had spread away from the town along its southern flank.

The service says the Parker Lake fire has been mapped at 127 square kilometres in size, up from 84 square kilometres earlier this week.

It says cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity were expected to make for more favourable conditions over the next couple of days fighting the fire that was only two kilometres southwest of the town earlier this week.

There may be some light rain, but the BC Wildfire Service says it won’t be enough to “offset the prolonged drought and cause the fires to self-extinguish.”

Rob Fraser, the mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, which includes Fort Nelson, told a community meeting that he now feels confident they will get word eventually that the fire is not threatening the community.

He told evacuees gathered in Fort St. John that it was by “the grace of God” that the blaze didn’t sweep through the community of about 4,700 residents last Friday, when everyone was ordered to leave their homes as winds hit 70 km/h.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2024.

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