Wildfires continue to burn outside Pemberton

Two major fires send smoke into Sea to Sky corridor

Wildfires burning outside of Pemberton continue to blanket the Sea to Sky corridor with thick smoke.

A 5,000-hectare fire that was sparked by lightning near Boulder Creek, about 23 km northwest of Pemberton Meadows, has prompted an evacuation order on both sides of the Lillooet Forest Service Road, from the nine km mark to the top of the Pemberton Valley, according to BC Wildfire Service. It's currently 0 per cent contained and members of the public are advised to stay out of the area.

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Poor visibility due to the smoke on Monday (July 6) has kept crews from flying helicopters into the area to cool down hot spots. "While this smoke has led to some challenges in regards to air support, it decreased fire activity slightly throughout periods of yesterday, acting as a shade cooling down the fire, what firefighters refer to as 'shading out,'" officials said on the BC Wildfire Service website. "While weather conditions have lessened slightly, with a bit cooler temperatures and lighter winds, this fire is burning in heavy fuels and has established a strong flame front. This crown fire continues to pick up momentum as it consumes more forest fuels."

The Elaho fire burning around 67 km west of Pemberton, meanwhile, is estimated at 20,000 hectares and is also 0 per cent contained. It has grown substantially since Saturday (July 4) because of the wind, which led to a loss of containment over the last two days.

Both fires were caused by lightning, but officials expanded a campfire ban across most of the province over the weekend.

While some people set to attend the Pemberton Music Festival from July 16 - 19 expressed concern over the weekend that it might be cancelled, officials assured that's not the case.

"There are absolutely no plans to cancel the festival at this time," they said, in a statement. "We are receiving regular updates from authorities, who inform us that the fires are currently far enough away from the festival site that their impact on the event will be minimal, if any. However, pubic safety is our number one concern, and we are monitoring the situation closely for any developments that might affect the festival, our neighbours, or our fans."

More to come...

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