NEWS

Little Bobtail Lake fire now confirmed as human caused: RCMP

05/17/2015 09:55 EDT | Updated 05/17/2016 05:59 EDT
A massive wildfire near Little Bobtail Lake, southwest of Prince George, that has been burning for more than a week has now been confirmed to be human caused, RCMP said Sunday. 

Police are looking for the public's help to identify the people believed responsible for starting the fire that was first reported May 8th.

The fire has grown to more than 24,000 hectares or 240 square kilometres and has resulted in the evacuation of nearly 80 people and put more than 700 homes in danger.

The origin of the wildfire has been located and at this time is believed to be human caused, said a statement from the RCMP. 

RCMP officers and investigators from the Wildfire Management Branch, the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands & Natural Resource Operations, have begun an investigation.

Get the latest emergency updates and evacuation orders

In addition, crews are still battling new fires sparked by Friday's lightning activity in the Cariboo region.

The largest fire is raging four hectares west of Anahim Lake, where a three-person attack crew, airtankers and a helicopter are on site with 16 additional firefighters on the way.

The branch says crews are also working on three small fires in the Big Bar area and one small fire southwest of Quesnel.

Meanwhile, the aggressive Little Bobtail Lake blaze has destroyed about 170 square kilometres since it was first discovered last Saturday.

Some 240 firefighters, 11 helicopters, eight air tankers and 23 pieces of heavy machinery have been brought in and 20 per cent of the fire has been contained.

Jill Kelsh with the Prince George Fire Centre said crews have been working around the clock since last Sunday.

"It's not very often that we have crews working day and night. They have been working as hard with all of the resources they have to get this fire under containment," she said.

"It was our first and only extremely large fire burning in the province so it was definitely a high priority for us."

Evacuation order still in effect

She said an evacuation order remains in place for about 80 people and it's too soon to say when they could return to their homes.

Kelsh said the area is finally seeing cooler temperatures and although winds have picked up, they are currently in crews' favour as they are moving away from larger communities.

Officials are hoping the gusty winds will not cause any immediate threat to structures, she said Sunday.

Unseasonably dry, hot weather has brought wildfire season early in B.C.

One wildfire that destroyed 83 hectares near Clearwater was 100 per cent contained as of Saturday morning.

Another blaze near Pelican Lake was about 164 hectares in size and only 50 per cent contained.

Google Maps: Little Bobtail Lake fire

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