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Smoke coming from 600-hectare fire in Tyaughton Lake area

Evacuation alert issued Sunday night; smoke hampering air tankers

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Whistler and Pemberton residents woke up to air thick with smoke today which has spread right down the corridor past Squamish.


Early rumours had a new fire breaking out in the Daisy Lake area, but the Coastal Fire Centre quickly threw water on those saying that no new fires were burning in the area causing the smoky atmosphere.


While there is a fire burning in Garibaldi Park it is less than one hectare.
It is more likely the smoke is coming from a fire burning in the Tyaughton Lake area, about 65 kilometres west of Lillooet. The fire was believed to be about 600 ha this morning, but had grown to 800 ha by this afternoon.


The area is now under an evacuation alert. There are a number of outdoor active businesses in the area, which is popular for backcountry hiking and fishing.

On Sunday, however, the residents of Gun Creek Road were ordered to evacuate.


A worker reached at Tyax Resort said: "We are too busy to talk right now."
Whistler residents Jane and Dale Douglas have a home within the evacuated area and run a local air service.


"I think the way the fire is going we think it has missed our place," she said, adding that the phones have been out for two days already along Gun Lake Road.


There was no answer by phone at other businesses in the area.


"An evacuation was issued (Sunday night)," said Elise Riedlinger, fire information officer for the Coastal Fire Centre at Kamloops.


"There are some cabins, a few homes and they have been evacuated and there is an evacuation alert for the surrounding areas as well."


The fire is being fought by 49 firefighters, five helicopters that are water bucketing, and air tankers. The heavy smoke has prevented the tankers from flying regularly.


"We did have winds yesterday that moved the fire in a southerly direction toward Carpenter Lake and fire officials are hopeful that this will provide a natural barrier and prevent the fire spreading any further in that direction," said Riedlinger.


"We are getting significant smoke off this fire."


The fire was person-caused and the circumstances are still under investigation.


"We really want to remind people that human-caused fires take away critical resources that we need for naturally occurring lightning-caused fires," said Riedlinger.


"Conditions are drier than usual for this time of the year. We are seeing conditions more similar to mid-summer and because we do have a hot and dry forecast for the next week or so we are being very cautious."


The evacuation was ordered for the properties west of Pearson Pond along Gun Lake Road, from the intersection of Tyaughton Lake Road and Gun Lake Road to Lick Creek approximately 5.5 km to the west, which includes Gun Creek Road.

There is also an evacuation alert in order for the surrounding areas of Gold Bridge, Tyaughton Lake, Pearson Pond and Gun Lake. For more information, contact the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District at 1-800-298-7753.


There are also road closures associated with the fire. For information call 1-800-550-4997 or visit www.drivebc.ca.

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