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Anderson Lake wildfire still burning out of control

Public asked to steer clear of area

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BC Wildfire crews continue to make progress on an out-of-control wildfire on the shores of Anderson Lake.

The Xusum Creek wildfire, discovered May 23, was 500 hectares and 35-per-cent contained as of Tuesday, May 29, said Marla Catherall, communications assistant with the Kamloops Fire Centre.

"BC Wildfire Service has 97 personnel on site. We also have heavy equipment and two helicopters, and further air support as necessary," Catherall said.

"The west flank of the fire is travelling upslope, and it is in some very difficult and steep terrain ... there are angles of about 60 per cent to 70 per cent, which is quite steep."

The fire is suspected to be human-caused, though it is still under investigation.

"The BC Wildfire Service would like to emphasize that our firefighters and staff are working hard to contain this blaze, and the public can support them by staying clear of the wildfire area," Catherall said.

"Entering any part of the fire area, whether it's by recreational watercraft or by entering the fire area by foot, is pretty dangerous and puts our staff at risk, and our top priority is safety and making sure that everyone returns home safe."

The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) hosted a community information meeting for residents in nearby Seton Portage on May 29.

"That's not because there's an immediate threat to Seton Portage, it's more to do with the historical experience that that community has had with wildfire," said Ryan Wainwright, the SLRD's emergency program coordinator.

"They had a big fire in 2009 and the whole community was evacuated, so what we're trying to do is give them a chance to talk to the wildfire folks and then talk a little bit about our pre planning for evacuation and things like that to sort of allay their fears or anxieties right now."

As of May 29, an evacuation order was in place for three properties along Highline Road, which will remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future.

An evacuation alert also remained in place for 25 properties at the McGillivray Recreation Resort.

"We want to encourage the public to stay away from (Highline Road), so we've got flaggers and we've instituted a road permit system for Ponderosa residents," Wainwright said.

"It's a unique situation ... they're moving lots of wildfire equipment up and down (Highline Road), but Ponderosa is not on alert or order so we've made it possible for those residents to come and go, but everyone else should stay away."

Stay up to date with evacuation notices at www.slrd.bc.ca.

Find more information about BC's wildfire situation at www.bcwildfire.ca.

Report all wildfires outside municipal boundaries by calling 1-800-663-5555 (or *5555 on a cell phone).

In Whistler, call 911.

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