Wildfire forces evacuation of 166 homes southwest of Kamloops

An out-of-control wildfire burning about 40 kilometres southwest of Kamloops, B.C., forced officials to evacuate 166 homes Friday evening.

Evacuation orders issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District warn the blaze in the Durand Lake area has started "threatening structures and the safety of residents."

The wildfire was discovered Thursday, and has since spread across an estimated 450 hectares.

The cause is still under investigation, but the B.C. Wildfire Service suspects it was sparked by lightning. Officials said there were roughly 12,000 lightning strikes across the province on Thursday, following days of extreme heat that left plenty of dry fuel for the flames to consume. At least 70 new wildfires were recorded that day.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District began by issuing an evacuation order for 71 properties near Durand Lake, then issued a second order for another 95 properties about an hour and a half later.

The current orders apply to the following addresses:

  • 4704 to 4792 Atwater Road
  • 4700 to 4870 Mile High Lane
  • 4812 to 4897 Paska Lake Road
  • 4730 to 4890 Pine Ridge Way
  • 4830 to 4860 Saddle Cres
  • 9273 to 9437 Dominic Lake Forest Service Road
  • 4445 Greenstone Road
  • 2380 to 5625 Tunkwa Lake Road
  • Other properties identified on these two maps

Anyone living in the affected properties has been ordered to leave immediately. Officials said there is no "commercial lodging" available, and encouraged evacuees to arrange to stay with friends or family.

Those in need of group lodging have been asked to report to the Merritt Reception Centre at 1950 Mamette Ave. in Merritt or Chilliwack Senior Secondary School at 46363 Yale Rd. in Chilliwack.

Evacuees who do have a place to stay can still register for emergency support services by reporting to the McArthur Island Sports Centre parking lot at 1655 Island Pkwy. In Kamloops, according to the orders.

The latest on evacuation orders are available on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District website.

Prior to the worsening wildfire situation at Durand Lake, Emergency Management B.C. said there were about 1,360 homes under fire-related evacuation orders across the province and 950 more on evacuation alert, meaning they must be prepared to flee on short notice.

Up to 3,000 people have been put to work battling the wildfires burning across the province, which have already razed an estimated 79,000 hectares so far, putting it ahead of B.C.'s 10-year average.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (@TNRD) has expanded the #Evacuation Order to include an additional 95 properties in the vicinity of Durand Lake (N of #LoganLake) due to the Chartrand Creek #BCwildfire. 166 residences in total now on order. Info: https://t.co/sieLXjYnMN https://t.co/UqdmYuM83v

— Emergency Info BC (@EmergencyInfoBC) July 3, 2021