Fierce winds that blew through the Harrison Lake area overnight have caused a wildfire there to explode to six times its previous size.
The human-caused Wood Lake fire is now estimated at 600 hectares, up from 100 on Sunday afternoon, and firefighters have been unable to make any progress on containing it.
“It experienced significant growth last evening. There were heavy winds in the area that were blowing, and despite the best efforts of our firefighters and our air tankers that were working on the fire, the fire did grow,” fire information officer Donna MacPherson said.
Most of the growth was to the north, away from human habitation, but firefighters are looking into whether they need to relocate people who are working and camping in the area. The blaze has crossed the access road to the south, and the road to the north is quite rough.
Campers at the Wood Lake Recreation Site to the southwest of the fire and the 20 Mile Bay campsite to the north have already been asked to leave.
“What we would like to let people know is that the top priority is always people’s safety,” MacPherson said.
“We’re focusing (firefighting efforts) on the southern part of the fire that is towards Harrison Hot Springs, just in case the winds shift around.”
The behemoth Martin Mars water bomber has been dropping water on the blaze for the last two days, alongside a crew of air tankers dropping retardant, to no avail.
A total of 135 firefighters, nine helicopters and two pieces of heavy equipment were working to contain the blaze Monday morning.