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Anderson Lake wildfire not expected to grow

Evacuation alerts rescinded for Ponderosa, McGillivray and D'Arcy

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A wildfire near Anderson Lake is now under control and, as a result, evacuation alerts for several nearby communities have been lifted.

The Grouse Creek fire, located about 4.5 kilometres northwest of D'Arcy, is "now being held," meaning it is "no longer anticipated to grow beyond its current perimeter," according to a BC Wildfire Service statement on Monday, Sept. 3.

"The cooler temperatures and precipitation have furthered the efforts of crews on the ground as they've worked to supress the fire," the release continued.

There were 23 personnel onsite Monday working to extinguish hotspots and strengthen the fire's containment lines.

As a result of the favourable conditions, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) has rescinded evacuation alerts that were in place for the communities of Ponderosa, McGillivray and D'Arcy. An alert is issued to give residents time to prepare to evacuate their premises if it's deemed necessary.

"Basically the containment is at a degree on the fire where BC Wildfire doesn't think it poses an immediate threat to property anymore, so that's good news," said Ryan Wainwright, emergency program manager for the SLRD.

Wainwright added that the Grouse Creek fire was a good reminder for residents in the area to take steps to mitigate their homes against the threat of wildfire.

"All around, a really good reaction from the community. I think people were aware, not scared, so that's what we hope to see," he said. "It also gave people a little bit of a kick in the pants to look at their own property and, with the fire this close, to think about what they can do to protect it.

"People are starting to think more about what it means to live in an area like this if they haven't before."

Wainwright also credited residents for welcoming fire crews into their communities with open arms.

"We did a couple of community meetings. The N'Quatqua (First Nation) actually hosted the firefighters for a recognition dinner, which was wonderful and I know the firefighters really appreciated the welcome that they got staying in N'Quatqua," he noted. The lightning-caused Grouse Creek fire was first discovered Aug. 7.

There are currently 36 wildfires of note and hundreds of active fires burning across the province. Fires are considered wildfires of note if they are especially visible or pose a threat to public safety, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

This fire season is now the second-worst in B.C. history, burning an estimated 945 square kilometres of land. That comes a year after the province's most devastating wildfire season, which counted fewer fires than 2018 but burned more land, roughly 1,200 sq. km. and cost more than $568 million in firefighting efforts.

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