FORT ST. JOHN -- The Prince George Fire Centre issued a wind warning Monday morning for the Stoddart Creek wildfire. The wind warning also includes Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Fort Nelson.

According to B.C. Wildfire, there are currently winds up to 30 to 40 kilometres per hour in the areas. Winds will pick up to 50 to 60 kilometres with gusts exceeding 70 kilometres per hour at times.

“Given these strong winds and exceptionally dry conditions, we are likely to see an increase in fire behaviour as well as smoke drift conditions throughout the day,” says Amy Peltonen, fire information officer for B.C. Wildfire.

Southerly winds will continue pushing the fire to the north, northeast direction. The Stoddart Creek wildfire will increase fire activity in the northern flank, towards Blueberry River. Sixteen firefighters, three helicopters and heavy equipment continue to protect critical infrastructure in the northern flank of the fire.

The area is already under an Evacuation Order and Alert since late Friday night. The Peace River Regional District issued the Order for homes near the Blueberry River First Nations Reserve, from Prespatou Road to Beatton Airport Road. There’s also an Alert for the area east of Prespatou Road to Bergen Road and south to 266 Road.

The Blueberry River First Nations also issued an Evacuation Order for elders and members with chronic illness.

B.C. Wildfire says the increase in fire activity over the weekend was also due to strong winds.

“We did see sustained winds over the weekend with continued warm and dry conditions. This has contributed to increased wildfire activity. As a result, we have seen growth on several fires across the region in addition to an increase in heavy smoke conditions,” says Peltonen.

According to the City of Fort St. John, emergency support services are only available by telephone due to current demand. They can be reached at 250-794-3310.

There are currently 126 active wildfires under the Prince George Fire Centre. Of these, 34 are being held, 60 are out of control and 32 are under control. About 1.87 million hectares have been burned so far. Of the 126 wildfires, 16 of them are near Fort St. John.