Hudson's Hope residents were ordered to evacuate town Wednesday afternoon as a wildfire southwest of town burned out of control.
The order came after an alert earlier in the day for residents to be ready to leave the area at a moment's notice.
Around 1 p.m. Wednesday, the District of Hudson's Hope upgraded the alert to an order. Residents were told to evacuate to Fort St. John and check in at the North Peace Arena, where an emergency social services reception centre had been established.
According to Moira Green with the city of Fort St. John, evacuees should register at the arena so officials know where people intend to stay during the fire.
"It's very important we know where people have gone," she said.
"We've been preparing since early this morning. We knew we had to be ready," she said.
Green said the city was also looking for pasture land to house animals evacuated from Hudson's Hope. She said many people were bringing horses, dogs and other live stock as they fled the fire. Anyone with land is asked to call 250.794.5178.
Residents are also asked to conserve water.
As of Wednesday at 1 p.m., the Mount McAllister fire had grown to 20,000 hectares. At the time, the Wildfire Management Branch had determined containment efforts were too risky.
"Personnel are on site determining how to manage the fire's spread," according to a release from the Wildfire Management Branch.
Mark Coderre, who works as a contractor at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, said smoke was visible from his work site Tuesday evening.
His employer told him to evacuate to Fort St. John ahead of the general order.
"I came into work this morning, and everyone was heading off to meetings. They'd been awake since 1:30," he said. "They were prepping everyone to evacuate the area."
He has since relocated to a hotel in Fort St. John. He added a skeleton crew was being left behind to operate the dam.
"They knew Hudson's Hope would be evacuated, and if Hudson's Hope is evacuated, that's 90 per cent of the workforce."
He said crews on the dam spent parts of Tuesday night watching the fire.
"It was a very active fire last night," he said. "There was no aircraft activity. There hasn't been on that fire since the start. We basically watched it burn."