Fort Nelson First Nation orders remote B.C. site evacuated by boat due to wildfire

FORT NELSON, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA — The Fort Nelson First Nation in northeast British Columbia has issued a wildfire evacuation order for a remote riverside reserve, telling residents and visitors they must immediately leave by boat.

The First Nation said the order covered the Kahntah Reserve, which is a few kilometres south of an out-of-control fire that was discovered on Monday.

The BC Wildfire Service said on its online dashboard that the blaze, measuring five hectares in size, was believed to have been caused by lightning.

The evacuation order comes as the service announces a provincewide campfire ban, with the exception of the Haida Gwaii Forest District, which will take effect on Friday because of the increased risk of wildfire starts from current and forecasted weather conditions.

The Fort Nelson First Nation issued a state of local emergency for the Kahntah Reserve on Tuesday, saying the fire was in "close proximity" and there was an "imminent threat to life or property."

It said First Nation representatives were authorized to restrict travel in the area and use any private property to deal with the situation.

The Kahntah Reserve is about 116 kilometres southeast of Fort Nelson.

Satellite imagery shows the reserve features a clearing on the bend of the Fontas River with a few buildings and other structures.

The wildfire service says there are about 100 active wildfires in B.C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2024.

The Canadian Press