Evacuation order issued for Old Sechelt Mine wildfire at Carlson Point

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      An evacuation order has been issued for residents of Carlson Point, north of Sechelt, because of the Old Sechelt Mine forest fire.

      Issued on Monday night (July 6), it affects eight residents and 21 waterfront properties in Electoral Area B (Halfmoon Bay) of the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

      "The Order ensures protection of human life while firefighters work to control the Old Sechelt Mine forest wildfire. Road access has been compromised therefore evacuation notices are being delivered by Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 12 crew," the order states.

      "The Evacuation Order was made by the Sunshine Coast Regional District. Residents have been advised to leave immediately and go to the reception centre established at the Sunshine Coast Regional District, Field Road building."

      This morning (July 7), the SCRD said the Old Sechelt Mine fire covers 250 hectares and is 40 percent contained.

      "The Halfmoon-Carlson Forest Service Road has been closed. While the fire has increased in size, it is moving NNW parallel with Sechelt Inlet and away from homes. The West, South and East sections are holding at roads," the SCRD states in a 7:24 a.m. update on its website.

      The B.C. Ministry of Environment and Vancouver Coastal Health Authority have a wildlife smoke advisory in effect for the Sunshine Coast "because of forest fire smoke that is affecting areas from Powell River to Gibsons/Langdale and surrounding areas".

      "Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease," a news release issued on Monday states.

      On Sunday (June 5), contract tree faller John Joe Phare died while fighting the Old Sechelt Mine fire.

      "This tragedy serves as a reminder of the inherent dangers associated with fighting wildfires - and the need for all British Columbians to do their utmost to prevent wildfires in the first place," Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson said in a statement on Monday.

      The provincial government said on Monday that 184 wildfires were burning across B.C.