Evacuation Alert Issued as Wildfires Rage in Northern Rockies Region

Northern Rockies Regional Municipality issues evacuation alert for Patry and Nogah Creek areas due to two out-of-control wildfires. Residents advised to evacuate immediately, with support services available, as fires pose immediate threat to life, health, and property.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Evacuation Alert Issued as Wildfires Rage in Northern Rockies Region

Evacuation Alert Issued as Wildfires Rage in Northern Rockies Region

On May 9, 2024, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipalities issued anevacuation alertfor the Patry and Nogah Creek areas due to two out-of-control wildfires. The fires, named G90207 Patry Creek and G90228 Nogah Creek, are suspected to have been caused by lightning and pose an immediate threat to life, health, and property in the region.

Why this matters: The increasing frequency and severity ofwildfires, lead to significant implications for climate change and regional infrastructure. As wildfires continue to spread, they can have devastating effects on local ecosystems, air quality, and the economy, making it essential to address the root causes and develop effective mitigation strategies.

The Patry Creek fire, discovered on May 2, is estimated to cover 0.5 hectares, while the Nogah Creek fire, discovered on May 5, has grown to an estimated 2,000 hectares. Both fires are considered "holdover" fires, meaning they have been burning since the previous year. The region has been experiencing hot weather and drought conditions, increasing the risk of wildfires.

Residents in the affected areas are advised to evacuate immediately and drive south towards Fort St. John. Fuel stations are being planned along the route for evacuees, and group transportation is available for those in need by calling 250-775-0933. The North Peace Arena in Fort St. John has been designated as the Emergency Reception Centre for evacuees to check-in and register for support.

The Fort Nelson First Nation has issued the evacuation alert, urging residents to review their emergency plans and stock their grab-and-go bags. Residents should refer to the Evacuation Alert for information specific to their community and follow the instructions of their Local Authority or First Nation. Landlines are currently down in the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality, so 10-digit dialling is not available.

The BC Wildfire Service has recommended the closure of Highway 77, which connects B.C. to the Yukon, due to increased wildfire activity and limited visibility. An air quality statement has also been issued for parts of northern Alberta due to smoke from thefires. Fuel is available at the Buckinghorse River Lodge at no cost with proof of Fort Nelson residency.

The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and Fort Nelson First Nations have issued a joint Evacuation Order pursuant to the Emergency Disaster Management Act. The municipality acknowledges the traditional territories of the Indigenous Peoples of the region, including the Dene, Cree, Dunne Tsaa, Tsááʔ C̨hé Ne Dane, Dene Tha', and Kaska peoples, as well as the Métis community. As the wildfires continue to burn out of control, residents are urged to prioritize their safety and evacuate promptly.