Shovel Lake wildfire threatens historic B.C. community of Fort St. James

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      A landmark from the 19th century is in serious jeopardy as a result of a massive B.C. wildfire.

      The Shovel Lake blaze is coming dangerously close to the Cariboo community of Fort St. James.

      It was established in 1806 by fur trader Simon Fraser on the shore of Stuart Lake in the north-central area of the province.

      The Fort St. James National Historic Site has been closed until further notice.

      The old fort, once known as New Caledonia, includes a collection of restored wooden buildings from the 19th century.

      Fraser used it as a base for trading fish and furs with local Indigenous people, who were led by legendary Dakelh First Nations leader Chief Kw'eh.

      Sir James Douglas, the first governor of the colony of British Columbia, also spent time in Fort St. James earlier in his career.

      The district is now home to about 5,000 people.

      The province has warned of "extreme fire behaviour" in the area today, with winds possibly reaching 30 kilometres per hour.

      The district has posted a news release noting that an evacuation alert remains in place.

      "Those that wish to voluntarily evacuate or need more time to evacuate should prepare to take action as required," the news release states.

      The district declared a state of local emergency on August 12; on August 15, there was a public information session at a local town hall.

      Fort St. James is one of many B.C. communities coping with high smoke levels as a result of the wildfires.

      Another community that's bracing for trouble is Kimberley in the East Kootenays.

      An evacuation alert has been issued for the entire city, which has nearly 5,000 residents.

      This is because of the Meachen Creek and Lost Dog Complex wildfires.

      The former mining town has a ski resort and is a popular destination for outdoor-adventure enthusiasts. It also has an 800-hectare nature park and the largest freestanding cuckoo clock in Canada.