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UPDATED: Wildfire puts Prophet River on alert

Klua Lakes basin wildfire has grown to an estimated 1,800 hectares

This story was updated Monday, May 25 at 2:30 p.m. — Ed.

The Klua Lakes wildfire is estimated to have grown in size to 1,800 hectares as of Monday afternoon from 1,600 hectares on Sunday.

An evacuation alert issued May 21 by the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM) is still in effect. Residents near Prophet River are on notice that the wildfire may lead to an evacuation order if it continues to spread.

On Monday afternoon, heavy machinery started building a guard around the southwest corner of the fire and sustained action crew members continued to establish a "fuel free" area around the Prophet River community, aided by helicopter support. Additional crews have been deployed from around the province. Also on hand were an Incident Management Team and Structural Protection Specialist.

Residents have been warned to have essential items — such as medications and valuable papers like insurance — readily available for quick departure if necessary.

The B.C. Wildfire Management Branch says the alert affects roughly 125 people.

In a statement released Friday, the NRRM says as much advance notice as possible will be given prior to an evacuation order, should one be necessary, "however you may receive limited notice due to changing conditions."

The fire was discovered by residents in the area on May 21.

B.C. Wildfire Management Branch says the fire is suspected to be lightning-caused.

Little Bobtail Lake fire

As of Monday morning at 7:56 the Little Bobtail Lake fire is fully contained. The 25,000 hectare blaze saw heavy rain help fire crews suppress the fire.           

Norman Lake residents can return to their homes, but there is still an evacuation order in place for the Bulkley Nechako Regional District. The order will be in effect until crews can remove damaged trees and get their sprinkler units out of the area.

Because the fire leaves damage to trees and their root systems, the Wildifre Management Branch is asking people to avoid the fire damaged areas.

The fire rating is still high for the Prince George Fire Centre and extreme in the northeast corner of the area. The forest is still very dry and fire is still a threat.

The fire has not damaged any buildings.

On site at present are 228 firefighters, three helicopters, 10 pieces of heavy equipment, and six airtankers.

BC Parks is keeping Dahl Lake Provincial Park and Bobtail Mountain Provincial Park closed to all recreational users and has ordered the evacuation of any users within the park.

The RCMP and the Wildfire Management Branch are conducting a joint investigation into the fire, which is believed to be human caused.

— With files from Mike Carter and the Prince George Citizen

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