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Evacuation alert added to Peacock Creek fire

Wildfire service committing significant resources to the blaze
Photo the afternoon of July 11 shows the increased size of the Peacock Creek fire south of Houston. (Houston Today photo)

The fast-moving Peacock Creek wildfire south of Houston has now resulted in an evacuation alert on top of an evacuation order.

The alert pertains to people on Buck Flats Rd. south of Harding Rd., and properties accessed via Mountainview Drive south of Mountainview Cemetery.

Issued by the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako, the alert advises people to locate family members and plan to meet outside the evacuation area should an evacuation order be issued.

It further advises people to:

- Gather essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (i.e., insurance), immediate care needs for dependents and, if they choose, keepsakes (photographs, etc.), and have these items readily available for quick departure.

- Prepare to move any persons with mobility challenges and/or children.

- Move pets and livestock to a safe area. If assistance required, please call the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.

- Arrange to transport your household members or co-workers in the event of an evacuation order. If asked to evacuate and transportation assistance is required, please call the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.

- Arrange accommodation for your family if possible.

The alert follows a recommendation from the BC Wildfire Service and is on top of an evacuation order issued last night for residents along Buck Flats Road and south of the Morice Mountain Nordic Ski Club to two kilometres south of the Roses Road Junction.

Speaking this afternoon, Bulkley-Nechako regional district chair Mark Parker described a fast-moving situation throughout the regional district area.

“It’s tough on people and resources,” he said of emergency support services people and wildfire fighters who are responding to numerous fires, alerts and orders throughout the district.

A long-standing regional district board member and now its chair, Parker remembers 2018, the last major fire year in the regional district.

There may not have been the number of fires in 2018 that there are this year, but the size of individual fires then was greater, he said.

“They were extreme then, it was horrific,” Parker said of 2018. “But now we have volumes from one end of the district to the other …. from the east all the way west to Smithers and to the north and south. You can’t compare. It’s just different.”

A shift in the wind yesterday afternoon expanded the Peacock Creek fire to the point the evacuation order was put into effect.

From one hectare when first spotted July 6, the fire grew to an estimated 250 hectares by last night.

Information provided by the BC Wildfire Service indicates the fire is a “continuous crown fire with an organized flame front and is spotting 400 metres ahead of itself.”

“Currently there is a unit crew, an initial attack crew, two officers and a helicopter onsite. Other aviation resources will be responding at different times throughout the day,” said Casda Thomas from the Northwest Fire Centre in Smithers.

“Currently the wildfire is displaying slow to moderate spread, however, fire behaviour is expected to increase significantly as temperatures warm throughout the day.”

Airtankers sent to the blaze yesterday afternoon were unable to control the fire’s growth.

The evacuation order warns that people who disregard it and remain in the area do so at their own risk.

Those who do leave can register at the reception centre at the Houston Community Centre at 2302 Butler Ave. They can also contact the Emergency Support Services director at 250-844-1404.

“Emergency Support Services can provide assistance for food, accommodation, hotel or staying with friends and family, clothing, emotional support, and family reunification,” states the regional district.

About the Author: Rod Link

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