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Sunday, September 26, 2021

‘Out of control’ Pine River wildfire destroys buildings, cuts power along strip of northern B.C. highway

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VANCOUVER — A forest fire north of Prince George has closed a section of highway and destroyed buildings as fire crews battle the blaze.

The Pine River wildfire, described as “out of control” by BC Wildfire Service, is located between Mackenzie and Chetwynd. It first broke out on Friday afternoon.

Overnight there was “significant fire growth,” reads a statement from BC Wildfire Service.

The statement, posted just before 11 a.m., said the fire was 2,000 hectares large – which is equivalent to 20 square kilometres.

“Structures were lost yesterday during the rapid fire growth. A major BC Hydro line was impacted,” it continues.

“Today, crews are continuing with structure protection for structures along Highway 97 and are continuing to protect wooden power poles in the area.”

“Crews are working to contain the fire to the north side of the highway.”

According to BC Hydro, 15 customers lost power due to the fire around 4 p.m. on Friday. As of Saturday morning, they were still without power, and crews were still on their way to the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but is suspected to be human caused, according to BC Wildfire Service. Ten firefighters, four helicopters and structure protection personnel are on scene.

“Crews and Structure Protection personnel worked through the night to deploy structure protection equipment in the area,” the statement continues.

Vehicles are being turned around between Powder King Road and Old Hasler Road along Highway 97, according to the Drive BC website.

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