Pemberton Wildfires Spread Aggressively Overnight

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A series of wildfires burning near Pemberton, B.C. are intensifying, with one fire exploding 10 times in size in just 24 hours.

The blaze in the Elaho Valley, 67 kilometres west of Pemberton, was originally about 2,000 hectares in size on Sunday morning. But by Monday, it had grown to 20,000 hectares, the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch said in a news release.

"This fire is displaying a vigorous and aggressive rate of spread," fire information officer Melissa Klassen said.

She added that heavy winds helped the fire spread by pushing the flames down the dry mountainside.

A fire near Boulder Creek, 23 kilometres north of Pemberton, also continues to grow. It now covers 12,000 hectares of land, compared to 1,500 on Sunday.

An evacuation order is in place for the area along the Lillooet Forest Service Road up to the Pemberton Valley. A number of threatened work sites have also been shut down and evacuated.

The Nahatlatch fire, burning west of the Fraser Canyon, has also grown 13 times in size from 360 hectares to 500.

All three are believed to have been sparked by lightning, and the branch said none of them are contained.

Organizers for the Pemberton Music Festival, slated for July 16-19, reassured fans that there are no plans to cancel the event.

"We are receiving regular updates from authorities, who inform us that the the fires are currently far enough away from the fest site that their impact on the event will be small, if any," said a statement on their Facebook page.

Smoke from the fires spread across the province including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, turning the sky an eerie shade of orange over the weekend. The heavy haze prompted an air quality advisory for some areas.

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