UPDATE (Monday am): Kookipi Creek fire & Fraser Canyon evacuations

Firestorm grew blaze to more than 8,000 hectares on Thursday

Last updated: August 21; 9:09 am. New info below: Highway 1; message from FVRD chair; message from Lytton council

Boston Bar and Lytton residents remain on evacuation alert while others nearby have been forced to flee by a major wildfire that swept into the Fraser Valley Thursday.

The fire has forced the evacuation of dozens of residents in the Fraser Canyon, including residents of Kanaka Bar, Boothroyd, and Lytton First Nations.

Lytton, Boston Bar, and Canyon Alpine are on evacuation alert.

The Kookipi Creek fire had been burning in the Nahatlatch valley just west of Boothroyd for more than a month. On Thursday, intense winds fueled a firestorm that sent it rushing down the Nathatlatch valley and across both the Fraser River and Highway 1. Plumes from the fire were visible as far away as Abbotsford.

The fire grew exponentially Thursday, from a blaze of less than 600 hectares to one that spanned a territory more than 10 times that. By Sunday, the fire was 10,500 hectares in size.

It destroyed a 4×4 wilderness outlook and shelter, as well as a communication tower operated by Lyttonnet, which provides telecommunications services in the Lytton area. Video from the tower shows the rapid speed at which flames moved into the area.

The latest evacuation orders in the Fraser Valley Regional District can be found here. The fire’s northern edge has prompted evacuations in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District. A map of those alerts and orders can be found here. A provincial map that combines the two may be found here, but is sometimes slow to be updated.

North flank

On Sunday afternoon, it was burning closest to structures on its northern flank near the Kanaka Bar First Nation. The First Nation’s chief and council issued an update Sunday at 1pm in which they said that all structures were standing.

The council said the fire was largely burning high on Jackass Mountain and is “not posing a threat at this time.”

A fire guard had also been created between the fire and homes, and structure protection and fire mitigation systems were being set up. You can see the full update here.

South Flank

The south flank of the blaze is burning closest to Boothroyd First Nation, in the vicinity of Jackass Mountain, and Blue Lake Resort. Both are under evacuation order.

The resort has been unharmed and the owners there reported Saturday that the fire was one to kilometres north of the popular camping spot. In an update on the resort’s Instagram page on Sunday, owners confirmed that the fire had not made its way to the lake.

A BC Highway camera positioned at Boothroyd First Nation, just south of a nearby airstrip showed extremely smoky conditions in the area as of Sunday afternoon. The camera updates every 10 minutes and can be found here.

Boston Bar remains under evacuation alert, meaning residents should be ready to leave on a moment’s notice. Previous wildfire assessments have determined that the fire risk in the area is high or extreme, owing to large buildups of fuel in forests near the community.


The village of Lytton and rural properties (including many that escaped harm in the 2021 blaze) are on evacuation alert owing to both the Kookipi Creek fire and several just north of the confluence of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers.

The Stein Mountain fire is burning on the west side of the Fraser River, mostly in high mountainous terrain.

Several prescribed burns took place this spring to remove fuel from the area’s forests.

Lytton’s mayor and council issued a statement late Friday evening. They wrote: “It is our understanding that the Kookipi Fire has not come north of Jackass. The thick smoke in the valley around the Village is not an indication that the fire has come closer.”

Be prepared

The evacuation alerts and orders in the canyon as of 2:30pm Sunday can be seen in the following map and on the BC Wildfire Service’s online dashboard.

They are subject to change at any moment, and may be different by the time a reader views this.

FVRD Chair Jason Lum urged anyone close to a wildfire to follow notifications on the Alertable app. (Find more information here.) Thompson Regional District residents can sign up for alerts through the Voyent app.

“This is the most up to the minute alerts and emergency notifications that we have,” Lum said.

Lum also issued a video statement Sunday.

Those evacuated can check in to an evacuation centre in Hope (originally evacuees were told they could check in at Boston Bar, but that’s no longer the case). Anyone on alert is urged to review a preparedness checklist. (Anyone not on alert but nearby should also review the checklist.)

Details on the number of evacuated individuals and structure losses were not available.

“The whole situation is dynamic and changing minute to minute with the weather,” he said. “The way this fire behaviour is happening and things are unfolding, you’re not going to have a lot of time to evacuate. The situation can change from alert to order very rapidly.”

Highway 1 (updated Monday)

The Kookipi Creek fire has forced the closure of Highway 1 through the canyon.

The blaze appears to have passed through the Falls Creek/Jackass Mountain area, where Highway 1 is down to one lane of traffic for several kilometres, and where a long, single-lane metal bridge carries vehicles over a gully created by a landslide during the 2021 atmospheric river event.

A long one-lane temporary bridge carries traffic over a stretch of Highway 1 severely damaged during the 2021 atmospheric river disaster. 📷 Ministry of Transportation

The Ministry of Transportation says that before the highway is re-opened, a structural engineer will be needed to assess the stability of the bridge.

Others must determine whether slopes and trees next to the highway are safe, or what must be done—including falling dangerous trees—if they are not. Significant highway closures have followed recent fires on Highway 4 on Vancouver Island, and on Highway 1 near Laidlaw, after wildfires destabilized slopes.

Photos sent to The Current by firefighter Jerry Michell show flames burning land next to Highway 1.

📷 Jerry Michell

📷 Jerry Michell

The weather to come

Friday’s fire was fuelled by intense winds from the west to the east as a cold front swept into BC. The weekend saw reduced winds in the Fraser Canyon. That increased smoke levels, but allowed crews to build a guard and take action to slow its further growth.

Although the early week is expected to bring rain to much of the Southern Interior, the canyon may not get any precipitation relief. Monday night and Tuesday is forecast to bring just a 30% chance of showers to the Lytton area.

Worryingly, winds are expected to spring back to life on Monday. Gusts as high as 50km/h are forecast for the canyon and the Lytton area Monday afternoon. That wind is also expected to hit other fires in the province. You can find a wind forecast map here.

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