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Young Creek fire increases on northern flank Thursday, Bella Coola Hill remains closed

DriveBC will provide an update at noon, Saturday July 22
The BC Wildfire Service wildfire map for July 21, 2023 showing the Bella Coola West Chilcotin areas. (BC Wildfire Service image)

The Young Creek fire in Tweedsmuir Park increased on its northern flank Thursday, July 20 forcing a full closure of Highway 20 in the afternoon.

Highway 20 remains closed Friday, July 21, and DriveBC said there is no convoy scheduled today.

The next update will be provided Saturday, July 22 at 12 p.m.

BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) noted on its website it will be working closely with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to determine whether it is safe to allow traffic through on an alternating bases again.

There are currently 46 firefighters and two support staff, as well as six pieces of heavy equipment responding to the Young Creek Fire.

In an update Thursday evening, the Cariboo Fire Centre noted ground crews are utilizing direct attack methods on the southeastern fire perimeter, where ground crews are wetlining the fire’s edge.

They will work their way southeast and move north up the flank of the fire to limit spread. Heavy equipment are constructing a control line from the west side of Highway 20 moving west that will tie into natural features on the south flank of the wildfire.

Air support is available to support ground personnel to cool hot spots, where required.

Now part of the Kappan Complex, the Young Creek Fire is measured at 2,518 hectares as of Thursday, July 20 evening.

Other fires in the Kappan Complex are the Gatcho Lake, Trumpeter Mountain, Elbow Lake, Grizzly Creek, South of Lily Lake part of the Gatcho Lake Fire, Anahim Peak and west of Freda Mountain called the Satah Mountain Fire, which is currently 5,200 ha.

For the Satah Fire heavy equipment continues to focus on opening up old roads through regen, replanted forests, in the north and south parts of the fire for access and contingency fuel breaks.

On the southern flank of the wildfire, heavy equipment are tightlining to get control lines close to the fire perimeter.

The northern and northeastern flank of the fire the main control line and contingency guard is being planned Terrain is extremely rocky in the area, making the utilization of equipment challenging.

There are 11 helicopters assigned to the Kappan Complex.

For the Anahim Peak fire there are presently 73 wildland firefighters and eight support staff responding, seven pieces of heavy equipment and two water tenders, plus a structure protection unit.

Evacuation orders remain in place for the Anahim Peak, Gatcho Lake and Eliguk Lake areas.

The Dean River fire has grown to 1,175 ha as of Thursday, July 20 and an evacuation order issued Friday, July 14, remains in place for several remote cabins.

BCWS notes a structural protection and a remote camera are in place, three personnel are assigned to the fire and there is currently one helicopter responding to the wildfire.

The Cariboo Regional District emergency support services reminds the public to register for the emergency notification system at, stay connected to official web pages and social media accounts for accurate information and not to rely on the rumour mill and when in doubt about the status of an order or alert to call 1-866-759-4977 or to visit

Anyone stranded due to the closure is asked to call Emergency Support Services at 1-250-267-4861 in Williams Lake and in the Bella Coola Valley 1-250-982-0062.

A transportation ministry spokesperson said during the pilot-car-led detours held during the week, after the initial flush of traffic out of the valley on Monday, July 17, they were typically seeing 8-10 vehicles per convoy.

READ MORE: EVACUATION ORDER: Anahim Peak wildfire area in the West Chilcotin

READ MORE: Anahim Peak fire in West Chilcotin threatens nearby ranches

Editor’s note: This article has been updated from the original to include the latest update from DriveBC on Friday, July 21 at 11:29 a.m.

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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