The Big Stick Lake fire and Hotnarko Creek fire forced the closure of Highway 20 Tuesday and Wednesday, July 13 and 14. (Charlene Elkins photo)

The Big Stick Lake fire and Hotnarko Creek fire forced the closure of Highway 20 Tuesday and Wednesday, July 13 and 14. (Charlene Elkins photo)

Strong winds continue to fuel Big Stick Lake fire in Chilcotin

The Big Stick Lake fire is estimated to be 4,000 hectares

Sustained winds continue to grow the Big Stick Lake fire at Kleena Kleene west of Williams Lake, noted the BC Wildfire Service in an update Thursday afternoon (July 15).

The Big Stick Lake fire is located south of Anahim Lake and north of Big Stick and Clearwater Lake. It is estimated at 4,000 hectares and forced the closure of Highway 20 Tuesday (July 13) when it crossed the road near Kleena Kleene.

“This measure was taken to protect the public from hazards as well as to ensure firefighter safety. Structural protection specialists will continue to do assessments tomorrow (July 16),” noted BCWS, adding crews will work Thursday to safely reopen Highway 20 through danger tree assessment and removal, as well as to secure and restablish guards on southwest side of Highway 20 and start developing a tactical plan for the northwest side of Highway 20.

As of Thursday afternoon, DriveBC was reporting Highway 20 was open to traffic with pilot car service. Motorists should expect delays, and future road closures are possible with little notice.

DriveBC is also reporting there is limited accommodations and supply in Nimpo Lake.

An evacuation order issued by the Cariboo Regional District remains in place for the Big Stick Lake area.

Another wildfire of note in the Chilcotin, the Hotnarko fire is located west of Ulkatcho and Anahim Lake and is estimated to be 100 hectares in size.

The Hotnarko fire also forced the closure of Highway 20 west of Anahim Lake Tuesday.

“Crews will finish the guard on the east side and head north to Highway 20, follow up with ground crews and hose lay,” noted BCWS.

An evacuation alert is in place for Anahim Lake and Ulkatcho First Nations.

East of Williams Lake, the McKinley Lake fire is approximately 2,000 hectares in size. In its latest update July 15 the BCWS noted the focus Thursday will be on securing containment lines that are already build and evaluating the northern flank for potential contingency lines.

There is a evacuation alert issued due to the McKinley Lake fire.

Read More: Cariboo Fire Centre gives update on wildfires burning in Quesnel Fire Zone

Read More: Ground crews perform night operations on Canim Lake fire

There are currently 10 active wildfires burning in the Central Cariboo Zone and 60 active wildfires altogether within the Cariboo Fire Centre.

The fire danger rating in the Cariboo is currently mostly extreme with area of high across the centre.

An ESS Centre has been opened at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake Campus in the lakecity for evacuees from the region.

Wednesday evening saw roughly 30 evacuated families from south and west of Williams Lake register.

If you are an evacuee need assistance in the Williams Lake area, you can call the ESS Centre at 250-302-1487.

If you are a volunteer wishing to assist others, you can email ESS director for Williams Lake, Dave Dickson, at

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B.C. Wildfires 2021