FORT ST. JOHN -- The Stoddart Creek wildfire has grown to 25,000 hectares in size as lighting and rain is forecasted for the long weekend.

The growth is due to smoke clearing which allowed direct sunlight to hit the fire. Fire crews are currently attempting to push the fire back on the Northwest corner.

BC Wildfire said the smoke has continued to ground helicopters and air support. Winds are expected to shift over the weekend, pushing the smoke away from the area.

Ignitions are planned at the northwest corner of the fire if the smoke clears.

Showers are forecasted for Saturday and Sunday, however the amount of rain will vary.

Forrest Tower of the BC Wildfire Service said the rain could be, “anywhere from 2 to 200 millilitres depending on where we’re talking about on these fires. Obviously that’s a very wide range which could have a much different impact on the fires, depending on how much we get.”

Thunder and lighting storms are also projected for the long weekend.

Tower said, “Overall, the message I would say right now is we’re just waiting to see what this wind and any precipitation brings.”

Currently, there are 166 firefighters at the Stoddart Creek wildfire with 45 working overnight.

Yesterday, the Rose Prairie and Montney communities were downgraded from Evacuation Order to an Evacuation Alert.

Other areas that have been downgraded to an Alert include:

  •  Coffee Creek
  •  Prespatou
  •  Altona
  •  Peejay
  •  Osborn
  •  Mile 62½
  •  East side of Highway 97 from Wonowon to Mile 120

The PRRD said in total, 850 properties have been downgraded.  

However Buick Creek, Mile 70 and West Murdale remain under the Order.

Alerts have been cancelled for Northern sections of Charlie Lake, North Pine and Pineview.

The PRRD said the change in Orders and Alerts for the area are due to “changes in fire activity”.