By NICHOLAS JOHANSEN
UPDATE: 7:20 a.m.
A wildfire burning along the Fraser River just west of Lytton grew to about 500 hectares overnight and continues to threaten dozens of homes with more strong winds in the forecast today, Sept. 1.
The South Spencer Road wildfire broke out Wednesday on the west side of the river.
Within hours, it had grown from a 12-hectare brush fire to blacken four square kilometres of bush and timber.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has ordered evacuation of 16 homes, all on the west side of the river, and an evacuation alert covers homes and properties as far north as the mouth of the Stein River.
A crew of 16 kept watch over the aggressive fire Wednesday night as it was pushed by strong winds that are forecast to gust up to 60 km/h today.
Air tankers, helicopters and more personnel returned to the fire lines at first light.
UPDATE: 10 p.m.
LYTTON — More properties near Lytton have been put on evacuation alert as a wildfire grew to 400 hectares Wednesday night.
All properties on South Spencer Road north of Papyum 27 IR north to the southern boundary of Styren IR 9 and Lytton IR 9B are being notified of a potential evacuation.
Residents given an evacuation order are asked to report to the reception centre, which has been established at the Lytton Parish Hall at 140 7th St.
Registration provides emergency personnel and family members with a list of evacuees and will provide evacuated residents with food, shelter and other personal necessities.
The district offers a to-do list if your residence has been put on alert:
- Locate all family members and be prepared to evacuate your residence and property to an identified safe reception centre.
- Gather essential items such as medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (insurance), photographs and immediate care needs for dependants.
- Prepare to move any disabled persons and children.
- Collect pets and pet needs.
- If possible, move livestock to a safe area.
UPDATE: 9 p.m.
LYTTON — A new evacuation order has been served by the TNRD.
The evacuation order is in effect for all properties on the east side of South Spencer Road from 3800 South Spencer Road north to the boundary of the Papyum 27 Indian Reserve.
People in that area are being told to leave immediately and report to the Emergency Social Services Reception Centre at the Lytton Parish Hall, located at 140 7th St. in Lytton.
The district also suggested that evacuees turn off the power and propane to their residences.
Smoke was detectible in Kamloops by 8 p.m.
At the same time, B.C. Wildfire crews were responding to a report of a fire in the Lac du Bois area on the outskirts of Kamloops. Thunder was audible in the area just an hour earlier.
UPDATE: 7 p.m.
B.C. Wildfire Service is estimating the size of a Lytton wildfire has grown to 300 hectares in a matter of hours.
Currently, 56 firefighters are fighting the blaze alongside two water delivery trucks and three helicopters.
The fire continues to exhibit Rank 3 to 4 behaviour, meaning there has been some candling of trees, as well as moderate spotting – where embers fly from one tree that is on fire, and travel to others around it.
Due to the fire's aggressive behaviour, fuelled by strong winds, the service cannot provide a sure percentage on containment.
Winds are expected to gust between 50 km/h to 70 km/h this evening, according to the service, which will cause firefighters more difficulty in battling the blaze through the night.
The fire continues to be travelling up the slope and away from structures at this time. Smoke from the blaze has been reported in Cache Creek
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.
A wildfire south of Lytton spread rapidly Wednesday afternoon and poses an “imminent threat to people and property” in the area," says the TNRD.
Sixteen homes within the Lytton First Nation have been evacuated and additional homes are on an evacuation alert.
The regional district has asked anyone on an alert to prepare to evacuate at a moments notice.
For those forced to evacuate, a reception centre will be established at the Lytton Parish Hall at 140 7th St., in Lytton.
All evacuees must register with Emergency Social Services at the reception centre. Registration provides evacuees with food and shelter.
Those needing transportation assistance or more information can call the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Emergency Operations Centre at 1-866-377-7188.
An interface wildfire has flared up in the Fraser Canyon, threatening a number of homes of Lytton First Nation.
Sixteen residences in the area have been evacuated while 20 more were placed on alert Wednesday as high winds stirred up the fire, two km south of Lytton.
By late afternoon, the blaze had grown to 60 hectares and was assigned a Rank 3 status, meaning a moderate rate of spread and some candling into trees due to strong winds.
Four air tankers out of Kamloops were supporting 44 firefighters on the ground as three helicopters fought the flames using hurricane buckets.
The TNRD issued an evacuation alert for residents in Lytton on the west side of the Fraser River from the intersection of Lytton Ferry Rd. and South Spencer Rd, south to the northern boundaries of Lytton IR 25 and Lytton IR 31, including 4279, 4275, 4265, 3960 and 3800 South Spencer Rd.
As of 2 p.m., Hwy 1 through the canyon remained open, but motorists are advised to check the Drive B.C. website or divert to the Coquihalla Highway.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
With files from Castanet