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Blackwater Mine near Vanderhoof sends home staff due to wildfires

The company says it is acting out of an abundance of caution
The site of the Blackwater Gold mine southwest of Prince George is shown in this August 2022 photo.

Artmeis Gold Inc. has announced that it is taken precautionary measures and temporarily reduced the number of non-essential staff and contractors at the Blackwater Mine in central B.C. due to wildfires in the region.

The company is currently constructing the Blackwater Mine project near Vanderhoof, approximately 160 km southwest of Prince George.

Approximately 20 personnel, including emergency response teams, remain on site to actively monitor the situation.

“The safety of our employees, contractors and the local and Indigenous communities is our top priority. We will continue to actively monitor the situation and will provide updates as necessary,” said Artemis Gold CEO Steven Dean.

On Sunday, the Regional District of Bulkley Nechako issued a pair of evacuation orders surrounding the Tash Creek and Finger Lake blazes.

The Tsah Creek wildfire, just south of Fort St. James, remains 300 hectares in size.

The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako says the danger posed by the Tsah Creek wildfire has prompted an evacuation order for all properties on either side of Highway 27 in the vicinity of Echo Lake and Bearcub FSR. 

The Finger Lake wildfire, southwest of Vanderhoof, is roughly 270 hectares in size.

The district, along with the Saik'uz First Nation, has also ordered evacuation for all properties to the south of the Bobtail Connector and Kluskus Forest Service Roads in the vicinity of Finger Lake -- including those accessed off Lavoie Gold Road, Long Lake Road and 6100 Road -- as the Finger Lake wildfire continues to burn.

There were 115 fires sparked by dry lightning over the weekend, with 311 fires now burning across the province.

156 people are under evacuation orders across B.C., and 629 under evacuation alert to leave their homes at short notice.

- with files from the Canadian Press