A sprawling wildfire in southwestern Canada, just north of the border with Washington state, prompted evacuation alerts Saturday for 183 homes in the area. Canadian and U.S. firefighters have been battling a series of raging fires in the Pacific Northwest that has destroyed dozens of homes amid dry conditions and gusty winds.
A fire near Testalinden Creek, in the southern part of British Columbia, is now covering about 3,100 hectares (around 12 square miles) and is estimated to spread north, the British Columbia Wildfire Service reported Saturday. Firefighters have contained about 50 percent of the blaze, but expanded its evacuation alert for nearby residents and warned air operations in the area could be affected if the fire continues to grow.
Crews have also been warding off another 22-square-mile wildfire near Rock Creek, around 4 miles north of Testalinden Creek that sprang up Aug. 13. Officials say humans likely caused fire, which has destroyed 29 homes.
Another series of fires is blazing south of the Canadian border in Washington state. The Stickpin fire, just 2 miles south of Canada, has already reached more than 100 square miles. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for the state Friday, which authorizes federal funds to help with the fires. Washington state has already seen 16 large-scale fires sweep through around 400,000 acres, or 625 square miles, of the state. More than 100 homes have been destroyed. Canadian border towns have also been issued instructions to prepare for evacuation in case the fire begins spreading further north.
Washington officials requested volunteer firefighters for the first time in state history to help battle the flames, saying existing resources were stretched too thin to deal with the growing emergency. Around 3,000 residents have stepped up to volunteer, the Associated Press reported.