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Evacuation alert issued for Lillooet-area fire

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The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has issued an evacuation alert for residents of Jade Mine Road in the Yalakom Valley, close to Lillooet.

The SLRD issued a news release on Thursday afternoon saying that a 600-hectare wildfire in the Yalakom Valley is presenting a potential danger to life, safety and property in the area.

Officials with the wildfire branch of B.C.'s Ministry of Forests and Range discovered the fire on Wednesday night at about 9:30 p.m. and watched it grow through the night until it arrived at its current estimated size.

The ministry dispatched 23 firefighters to try and douse the fire overnight but as of Thursday afternoon it wasn't contained. Elise Riedlinger, a spokeswoman with the ministry's Kamloops Fire Centre, said there will eventually be a total of 80 firefighters tackling the fire with 40 of them currently en route.

There will also be six helicopters, five pieces of heavy equipment and a specialized incident management team expected to arrive Thursday night. They'll start using heavy equipment to focus on machine guards on the east flank of the fire, which is closest to structures.

Riedlinger said the cause of the fire is still under investigation but added lightning had been witnessed in the Kamloops Fire Centre.

She went on to say that the fire came within 500 metres of a home on Wednesday night. It was "tactically evacuated" but the residents have since returned to the home.

The SLRD has activated its Emergency Operations Centre and a public information line is available at 1-866-417-4132 for area residents to seek information.

 

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