The Mount McAllister fire west of Chetwynd is estimated at 20

Hudson’s Hope, Bennett dam evacuation ordered

5,000-member community and 200 BC Hydro employees ordered out, wind farm near Chetwynd also threatened

The 1,100-member community of Hudson’s Hope and 200 BC Hydro staff at the two Peace River dams have been ordered evacuated as a nearby wildfire has grown to 20,000 hectares.

The Mount McAllister fire is too volatile for firefighters to take on at this time. The fire is also threatening the Dokie Ridge wind farm to the east of the fire, which is burning 56 km west of Chetwynd in northeastern B.C.

BC Hydro reported Wednesday afternoon that its staff at the W.A.C. Bennett and Peace Canyon dams have been evacuated but they continue to operate. Transmission lines are not threatened.

“These evacuations will not impact our ability to provide power to the province, as the units at both generating stations can be operated remotely,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer. “Also, we can shift more of our load to our generating stations on the Columbia River, including Mica and Revelstoke, if required.”

The Bennett dam alone is responsible for 30% of BC Hydro’s electricity output.