BRITISH COLUMBIA

Raging wildfire in northern B.C. spreads, challenges suppression efforts

05/14/2015 10:06 EDT | Updated 05/14/2016 05:59 EDT
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Crews battling a rapidly spreading wildfire in northern British Columbia were starting to make some progress when the blaze flared up again early Thursday, fire officials said.

The fire is estimated to engulf an estimated 130 square kilometres of land and forest near Norman Lake, about 50 kilometres southwest of Prince George.

The provincial government's Wildfire Management Branch said the blaze, first discovered Saturday, keeps spreading because of dry, warm and windy conditions.

The branch said Wednesday night that the fire had become less intense, but later reported that its activity had increased. It has called the fire unpredictable and aggressive.

Crews have been working around the clock to battle the blaze using six helicopters, four air tankers and 10 pieces of heavy equipment.

Fire information officer Melissa Klassen says crews have been scrambling to put up sprinkler protection systems around homes that are under an evacuation order.

"They've made huge progress setting up those protection units. Over half of the residents there are equipped now with sprinklers. Structures are a priority for us. We haven't lost any structures."

Dozens of people have been forced out of their homes because of the fire, and B.C. Parks has closed its Dahl Lake and Bobtail Mountain provincial parks until further notice. (CHNL)