More properties on evacuation order east of Ashcroft, B.C., but danger to village 'minimal'

An evacuation alert has been upgraded to an order for dozens of properties southeast of Ashcroft, B.C., but officials say the threat to the village itself remains minimal.

The order from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District affects 60 properties in Electoral Area I, which are being threatened by the Tremont Creek wildfire.

Residents of the addresses listed in the order, as well as any other properties shown on the map the district published alongside it, are required to leave the area immediately.  

"Emergency Support Services will only be provided if your primary residence is one of the properties under evacuation order," the district says in its order.

Those who meet that criteria are asked to report to the Salvation Army Building at 1480 Sutherland Ave. in Kelowna.

The Tremont Creek fire has been burning since July 12, and currently covers approximately 5,000 hectares, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

The blaze is considered "out of control" and has led to evacuation alerts for the Village of Ashcroft and the Ashcroft Indian Band, as well as several neighbouring areas.

Evacuation orders were already in place for 50 other properties in Electoral Area I because of the Tremont Creek fire, and several nearby areas have been evacuated due to the Sparks Lake fire, to the northeast. 

The Tremont Creek fire is part of the Lytton Creek fire complex, which also includes the Lytton Creek and George Road fires, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

There were 40 firefighters, five helicopters and seven pieces of heavy equipment battling the blaze as of the most recent update on Sunday morning.

In a communication bulletin published Sunday, the Village of Ashcroft said the fire had been moving east, away from the village, adding that the current threat to the village is "minimal." 

Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden told CTV News the village has been working hard to ensure timely, accurate communication with residents about the wildfire situation in the region, as well as to reassure them in the face of a stressful situation.

Roden said the wildfire season has, so far, been reminiscent of the 2017 season, during which the Elephant Hill fire forced thousands in the area - including the entire nearby village of Cache Creek - to evacuate.

While that year was defined, locally, by one large fire, this year has seen several fires in the area, including Tremont Creek, Roden said.

"It's right on our doorstep," she said. "That's bringing back a lot of very stressful, very painful memories from 2017 for a lot of people."