Tue, Jul 21, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Eleven thousand flee forest fires in British Columbia


About 11,000 residents of a subdivision threatened by a forest fire in southern British Columbia have been evacuated, officials said on Sunday. Helicopters, air tankers and firefighters were attacking the 3.5km² blaze raging behind the Glenrosa subdivision, some 275km east of Vancouver.

“You had to get out. We just did what we were told. We just picked up our belongings and got out,” Wilf Carey said as he went in to register at the evacuee center.

Carey’s house was among 6,500 homes deemed in danger. At least three homes were destroyed, but no casualties were reported.

It’s not clear what caused the blaze, though Assistant Fire Chief Lou Wilde hinted strongly it may have been deliberately lit.

“I’m quite certain lightning wasn’t a factor,” Wilde said.

A second fire was burning about 10km north at the nearby Rose Valley Reservoir, where another 1,500 homes were under evacuation alert. A third fire, further north at Fintry, was also burning.

In 2003, lightning strikes triggered a fire that scorched 250km², destroyed more than 200 homes and caused millions of dollars in property damage.

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