BRITISH COLUMBIA

Wildfire evacuation alert lifted for residents near Lillooet, B.C.

08/12/2013 12:35 EDT | Updated 10/12/2013 05:12 EDT
LILLOOET, B.C. - An evacuation alert that kept about a dozen residents near Lillooet, B.C., nervously watching a nearby wildfire was lifted Monday after crews declared the blaze fully contained.

The fire began over the weekend near Seton Portage, located more than 200 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, as lightening sparked dozens of new fires across the province.

The fire never grew larger than two hectares, but officials were concerned high winds could have caused it to quickly grow and spread.

The evacuation alert, which warned residents to be ready to leave at a moment's notice, was lifted early Monday afternoon as the province's wildfire management branch revised the fire's status to 100 per cent contained.

Still, fire information officer Melissa Welsh said the work of firefighters was not finished.

"The fire is still estimated at 1.7 hectares in size," said Welsh.

"Today, we still have 13 firefighters actioning this wildfire."

Forestry officials estimate lightning across B.C. on the weekend spawned more than 50 new blazes. Since April, more than 1,100 wildfires have burned 86 square kilometres of backcountry since April.

So far this year, the province has spent $86 million fighting wildfires.