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'Some structural damage' from wildfire near Fort Nelson, B.C., mayor confirms


More than one home has been damaged or lost due to a massive wildfire outside of the B.C. community of Fort Nelson, the mayor confirmed Wednesday.

Rob Fraser said that there has been "some structural damage" as a result of the Park Lake blaze.

"There's no damage at all in the town proper – but out along the stretch of the Alaska highway in close proximity to where this started, there’s been some damage," he said.

Roughly 4,700 people were ordered to flee when the wildfire exploded in size last Friday. It is now estimated at approximately 84 square kilometres.

At a meeting in the afternoon to provide a community update, Fraser said efforts are underway to contact the owners of the properties that have been impacted.

He also said it is "unconscionable" that people are posting photos and videos to social media showing the damage.

"Can you imagine finding out about your shop or your house because somebody posted it on Facebook?" he asked. Officially assessing all of the damage, he said, will happen when there are resources available – which won’t happen until there has been more progress on fighting the fire.

 Asked about structural damage Monday, Emergency Preparedness Minister Bowinn Ma declined to answer.

"This is a very active situation right now and the focus is on fighting the fire, on keeping the evacuees safe and supporting evacuees during what is likely to be one of the most difficult times of their lives," she said.

"I recognize that people will have questions about damage – either the damage that has already occurred over the weekend or damage projections into the future. Now is not the time to talk about that."

A low-pressure system moving into northern British Columbia is expected to dampen wildfire activity in the coming days.

Fire officials said Wednesday that cooler temperatures in the low teens along with higher humidity should reduce the likelihood of intense or extreme fire behaviour.

While conditions were looking favourable around the blaze threatening Fort Nelson, the BC Wildfire Service also said conditions remained unseasonably warm and dry throughout much of the province.

With files from CTV News National's Andrew Johnson and The Canadian Press Top Stories

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