Wildfire burning near Anderson Lake continues to grow 

Out-of-control blaze now estimated at 500 hectares; evacuation order issued for three properties

click to flip through (5) PHOTO BY STEVEN TURNER
  • Photo by Steven Turner

Updated 9:30 a.m. May 27.

BC Wildfire crews are battling an out-of-control blaze 35 kilometres west of Lillooet near the shores of Anderson Lake.

The wildfire—discovered on Wed., May 23—is now estimated to be about 500 hectares in size. An evacuation alert is in effect for the area, while an evacuation order is in place for three properties—16405 Highline Road (Preston), 17817 Highline Road (Nielson) and DL965 Highline Road. The fire is 25 per cent contained.

"The fire has displayed rapid growth and BC Wildfire has considerable resources deployed including ground and air support," reads a report on the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's (SLRD) website.

The under Evacuation Alert includes the McGillivray Recreation Resort. BC Wildfire Service described Saturday, May 26 as "a fairly successful day."

The Highline Road remains closed due to the evacuation order in place, though residents along the road that are not affected by the evacuation order can access their homes by showing identification.

"The SLRD Emergency Operations Centre is activated and working closely with BC Wildfire, the RCMP, Emergency Management BC, local fire services and other agencies to ensure the continued safety of residents. Advance planning is being completed based on the potential path of the fire in the event of continued growth," the SLRD said.

BC Wildfire crews will be using skimmers on Anderson Lake from today onwards as part of the air attack on the fire, and residents are advised to avoid the lake if possible.

Three firefighters worked overnight with daytime resources set at 64 firefighters, three helicopters, three pieces of heavy equipment and airtanker support.

"There is considerable speculation about the fire in conversation and social media including reports of injury, death and property burned. This information is false and is causing people unnecessary distress," the SLRD website reads.

Residents are advised to get their information from official sources, including www.slrd.bc.ca, www.bcwildfire.ca and www.drivebc.ca.

The fire is suspected to be human-caused, though an investigation is underway.

Report all wildfires outside municipal boundaries by calling 1-800-663-5555 (or *5555 on a cell phone).

Inside Whistler, call 911.

"The regular caution for this time of year, this type of weather, (is) be very, very, very careful with any ignition source, be that a chainsaw, be that a motorbike, be that anything. Definitely don't throw your cigarette butt out the window," said SLRD emergency program manager Ryan Wainwright.

"Then we're asking people to steer clear of the area. There's a lot of aerial equipment working, there's a lot of wildland firefighters in there, so we want to make sure the area is clear for them to do their job without worrying about also looking after the public."

Stay tuned to Pique for more as this story develops.

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