Organizers touted it as the “hottest music festival” of the summer, but attendees at the Under the Stars event near Princeton, B.C., this weekend likely didn’t take it literally before a fire erupted nearby.
A wildfire sparked by an all-terrain vehicle forced the evacuation of the event’s 1,000 participants as flames spread in the village of Coalmont, a community of about 500 residents approximately 20 kilometres west of Princeton in the province’s interior.
In a statement Monday, Princeton RCMP said a quartet were riding ATVs near Coalmont Sunday evening when one of the vehicles caught fire, and flames rapidly spread near the village.
Emergency crews and Mounties, along with BC Wildfire Service personnel, showed up on the scene and said all festival-goers were safely evacuated, though no one was injured and no evacuation orders were issued.
Elsewhere over the weekend, dozens more properties in the B.C. Interior have been placed on evacuation alert as the Bush Creek East wildfire near Adams Lake fills the air with thick smoke.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District says it expanded the evacuation alert to 85 addressed properties Monday, also closing a boat launch to keep recreational boaters off the water to allow aircraft to work unimpeded as blazes burn on both sides of the lake.
The regional district says conservation officers and the RCMP are patrolling the lake to make sure boaters aren’t straying into the path of aircraft involved in fighting the fires.
Both the Thompson-Nicola and the Columbia Shuswap Regional Districts have evacuation orders in place for two wildfires burning on opposite sides of Adams Lake — the Lower East Adams Lake wildfire and the Bush Creek East wildfire.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District says it issued the alert Monday to prepare people in case they need to flee, warning that changing conditions could mean minimal notice if the alert is elevated to an order to evacuate.
The regional district placed 13 properties along a forest service road on evacuation order Sunday due to the Bush Creek blaze, days after a fire on the other side of the lake prompted an evacuation of dozens of properties serviced by a cable ferry.