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No significant growth on wildfires near Fort Nelson, B.C.

This image of where BC Wildfire Service crews are working near Fort Nelson, B.C., shows felled danger trees. (Credit: YouTube/BCWildfireService) This image of where BC Wildfire Service crews are working near Fort Nelson, B.C., shows felled danger trees. (Credit: YouTube/BCWildfireService)
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Wildfires burning near Fort Nelson, B.C., have not seen any significant growth in the past 24 hours, according to an update from officials Monday, who said conditions have not yet improved enough for evacuees to return.

The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, in a statement, said crews continue to battle the out-of-control Parker Lake and Patry Creek fires. Structure protection crews are on the ground where fire guards are being built and helicopters are bucketing the blazes from above.

The Emergency Operations Centre has also reopened in Fort Nelson after being moved out of the community last week.

“While a positive move in terms of community readiness, conditions are not yet cleared for residents' return due to wildfire and other community safety risks such as limited essential services,” the update says, reiterating that the move back into the community will be done in phases.

As of Monday morning, the Parker Lake blaze – which forced thousands to flee and destroyed four homes – was estimated at 123.5 square kilometres. The Patry Creek fire, which is a holdover from last year’s record-breaking season, is nearly six times that size.

The BC Wildfire Service gave an update on the fight against the fires Sunday evening, saying a favourable turn in the weather allowed crews to make some progress. Still, significant challenges remain.

“Because of the longer-term drought in the area, we’ve found, the crews have found, that the fire has burned quite deep which makes the trees unstable, and there are certain areas where the crews are finding it very difficult,” said Bryce Moreira, incident commander.

The BCWS’s provincial situation update Monday said cooler, wetter weather is expected for Tuesday and Wednesday which will allow further progress to be made. However, much of the province remains “unseasonably dry” meaning new fires can spark easily and spread quickly.

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