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'Tactical evacuation' underway near Chetwynd, B.C., due to out-of-control wildfire

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Police and firefighters are going door-to-door telling people who live in the vicinity of a wildfire burning out of control near Chetwynd they need to evacuate.

In a social media post Wednesday evening, the BC Wildfire Service says local RCMP and the Chetwynd Fire Department are doing a “tactical evacuation” near the fire, which was discovered around 3:45 p.m.

In just a few hours, the fire has grown to 40 hectares in size, according to the agency.

A 10-kilometre stretch of Highway 97 has also been shut down in both directions due to the wildfire. Drive BC says the closures start four kilometres away from Chetwynd—a town in B.C.’s northeast roughly 300 kilometres north of Prince George—and end 14 kilometres away.

BCWS says firefighters and aircraft are working the blaze. “Efforts are focused on protecting public life and safety,” it wrote.

An evacuation order was issued for the Pine River area just before 7 p.m. The Peace River Regional District said anyone from west of Bisset Creek to south of Pine River and east to Wildmare Creek must evacuate immediately, as the fire “poses a threat to human life.”

Wednesday’s evacuation order is the first in the province in what has been an early start to the wildfire season. One evacuation alert is in place for the Burgess Creek Wildfire, which has grown to 1,800 and is burning out of control between Quesnel and Williams Lake.

 

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