Donnie Creek wildfire now the largest in B.C.’s history, service says

By Emily Marsten and The Canadian Press

The BC Wildfire Service says the Donnie Creek wildfire has grown into the largest blaze ever recorded in British Columbia.

The fire, which is burning south of Fort Nelson in northeastern B.C., is now estimated to have grown to more than 534,300 hectares in size.

It has now surpassed the Plateau fire that charred the area northwest of Williams Lake in 2017 and was previously considered the province’s largest fire.

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The BC Wildfire Service suspects the fire was sparked by lightning in the area and crews have been working on the massive blaze for about a month.

“The fire danger rating for this part of the North Peace remains high to extreme despite rain being received in various parts of the region in recent days. This means forest fuels are very dry and the Donnie Creek wildfire can spread easily, burn vigorously, and challenge fire suppression efforts,” the BC Wildfire Service says.

The service says a planned ignition near Birley Road took place on Saturday, and on Sunday crews are working at “locating any excursions and mobilizing crews to contain them.”

“Crews will be actively searching out any spot fires that resulted from this activity using a combination of direct attack, machine guards and when possible, helicopter bucketing support to assist. They will also activate structure protection systems if trigger points are reached,” the service notes.

Meanwhile, an area along the Alaska Highway is under an evacuation order as the fire creeps closer to the road.

“Structure protection specialists and personnel are responding to this incident – including areas now under evacuation order – to assess properties and infrastructure and install structure protection equipment wherever feasible at active sections of the fire perimeter and on defendable structures within the perimeter where the fire has not yet burned,” the service says.

Marg Drysdale, a fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, says that it remains out of control and crews are focused on protecting infrastructure along the highway.

She says the service expects the fire will continue to grow throughout the summer and into fall.

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