Toni Kerekes helps battle a wildfire in Squamish, B.C., Thursday, April 16, 2020. The BC Wildfire Service says crews are making good progress on a ground fire that’s so far charred one square kilometre of bush and trees in the Upper Squamish Valley. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Felix McEachran Mandatory Credit

B.C. blaze that destroyed homes near Squamish doubles in size: wildfire service

Evacuation orders and alerts for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District remain in place

The first major blaze of B.C.’s 2020 fire season has doubled in size near Squamish, but the BC Wildfire Service says that is due to better mapping, not further spread of the flames.

Wildfire service information officer Marg Drysdale says the fire in the Squamish Valley is now estimated at 203 hectares, or just over two-square kilometres.

She says 46 firefighters, four helicopters and several pieces of heavy equipment are being used to fight the fire, along with two fallers who will cut trees weakened by the fire along Squamish Valley Road.

Toni Kerekes, who operates a riding school in the area, says random trees were burning like candles in the forest and flames climbed “like a ladder” up the steep valley hillside in the hours after the fire broke out.

She says she saw at least three charred homes as she escaped the area with her family and horses late Wednesday.

Drysdale says the situation Friday is calmer, with cooler, moist conditions favourable to firefighting efforts, although she says the blaze remains uncontained.

“We know the fire is person-caused,” she said, adding it remained under investigation.

Conditions are extremely dry in the valley and in neighbouring Paradise Valley north of Squamish, but Drysdale said crews were managing to keep flames from cresting the ridge and moving closer to Paradise Valley homes.

Evacuation orders and alerts issued by the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District remain in place.

The District of Squamish was also maintaining its declaration of local emergency, issued shortly after the fire was reported.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Racism wasn’t dealt with properly by school, says Chilliwack graduate

Woman tells story of being verbally assaulted at school for being black

Investigators comb through Chilliwack house following standoff

RCMP say investigation involves report of an early morning shooting

Chilliwack dad rescues his two young daughters after truck plunges into Cultus Lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

No need to get out of your car at food truck festival in Abbotsford and Langley

Annual event takes drive-thru approach during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 business listing: Hope and area

Find out which stores are open and how to support those who are feeling the effects of the pandemic

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows dentist gets grand welcome home after two-month COVID-19 battle

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read