State of emergency cancelled, evacuations ordered lifted amid central B.C. wildfire

A wildfire burns east of Fraser Lake. Courtesy Lorna Paul

(Update @ 10:58 a.m. on May 12): An active wildfire that prompted the declaration of a local state of emergency and several evacuations is still not under control.

"The weather is still quite dry", she says.

Information Officer Molly Blower with the Prince George Fire Centre tells NEWS 1130 the fire - 236 hectares in size and about five kilometers east of Fraser Lake - has now been downgraded to "held" rather than 'uncontrolled, ' and is 50 per cent contained.

"We drove into pretty much a big huge, smoky billowing cloud and you could see the flames", Storey said in a phone interview Sunday.

Around 9 p.m. Saturday, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako called a state of emergency and issued an evacuation order for all properties south of Highway 16 to Roys Lake, west and east of Seaspunkut (Lejac).

Meanwhile, the Evacuation Alert has been taken off entirely for residents living south of Highway 16 to south of Klez Lake and east of Drywilliam Lake. All of the fires the service is dealing with are human caused, he said.

The Lejac wildfire was discovered on Friday, May 3rd, and 40 firefighters are being assisted by two helicopters and several pieces of heavy equipment.

The cause remains under investigation, but Thiessen said that with no recent lightning in the area it appears to have been human-caused. Officials said it didn't spread overnight.

Pritchard cautioned with the coming wind change to the west, the smoke may sit on Fraser Lake, but said residents shouldn't be concerned about the fire itself.

"This fire sounds like a fricking freight train", said a Facebook-user with the name Beverly Ketlo. "You're just hoping the crews on the frontline are staying safe and the wind dies down".

"We're just holding firm", he said.

Having grown up in the area, Thiessen said wildfires are not uncommon in July and August, but it's rare to have such a large blaze so early in the season.

And this year, he said the region is vulnerable.

He encouraged back country users to be vigilant.

"We've gone since nearly Christmas - very early in January - since we've had significant snowfall".

- By Amy Smart in Vancouver with a file from Adam Burns in Toronto.

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