Forest fire tourists banned from Sutherland Road

Forest fire looky-loos prompted the B.C. Wildfire Service to issue an order Wednesday banning public access to the Sutherland Road area north of Fort Fraser.

The move was made because of the number of people venturing into the zone to look at the blaze, said Kevin Skrepnek, the BCWS's chief fire information officer.

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"These are dangerous areas and the only people who should be in there are trained personnel," Skrepnek said.

Boaters have also been heading out to lakes to check out water-skimming aircraft, according to Skrepnek.

"We do want to encourage people, if they are boating and if they see firefighting aircraft in the area to get away immediately," Skrepnek said.

He said a restriction order is also pending for the fires nears Little Fort. While the order is in place, only those living or working in the zone are allowed to enter.

The area stretches 24 kilometres west from Highway 27, one kilometre south from the Barlow Forest Service Road, then north-northwest for 7.8 kilometres to the junction of the Barlow and the Barlow-Rat Forest Service Road, then east along the Barlow back to Highway 27

"Road checks will be conducted by the ministry's Natural Resource Officers and security staff 24 hours a day on Highway 27 and on the Barlow Forest Service Road," B.C. Wildfire Service said.

An evacuation alert issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako remains in effect.

The lightning-caused fire stood at 1,800 hectares and was 50-per-cent contained as of Wednesday morning.

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