The Murtle Lake wildfire,located within Wells Gray Provincial Park is shown in this handout photo provided by the BC Wildfire Service on Friday June 9, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-BC Wildfire Service

Wells Gray Park and Lower North Thompson fire update

A new fire burning near Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Park is suspected to have been sparked by lightning early on Sunday, July 23. The fire near Jonah Lake, which is described as out of control, is estimated at 0.6 hectares and growing rapidly.

An out of control wildfire is considered to be a fire that is continuing to spread and is not responding to suppression efforts. When the suspected cause is lightning in a tinder-dry, fuel-loaded forest, it can release enough heat to ignite trees and other fuels in an area, spreading rapidly.

In the Lower North Thompson, an evacuation alert was issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Emergency Operations Centre (TNRD EOC) at 11 a.m. on July 23 for approximately 12 addressed properties in the Fadear Creek Road area in TNRD area “O”. The evacuation alert is due to the Bush Creek East wildfire.


An evacuation alert is put in place to prepare residents in the area to evacuate property or premises immediately should it become necessary. If the alert is moved to an evacuation order there may be limited notice given due to changing conditions.

As of July 23 the Kostel Cone fire in Wells Gray Park, 55 kilometres north of Clearwater, had grown to 13,471 hectares, and was given a modified response designation by BC Wildfire Service. On July 18, the fire was reported to be 2,172 hectares in size.

The Murtle Lake fire in Wells Gray Park, which was discovered on May 21, continues to burn, but the fire is considered to be under control and responding to suppression efforts.

BC Parks has issued a closure advisory to the public in the areas around Kostal Lake and Pillpill Mountain due to increased wildfire activity. Members of the public travelling into Wells Gray Park should be aware of changing conditions and be prepared to leave areas if directed to do so.

The TNRD EOC has advice on what to do if you receive an evacuation order:

– Locate all family members and designate a meeting area outside the evacuation area, should an evacuation order be called while you are separated.

– Pack essential items such as government-issued ID, medications, eyeglasses, valuable papers (e.g. insurance, credit, and mortgage information), immediate care needs for dependents or pets, and, if time and space permits, keepsakes, and have them ready in the event of a quick departure.

– Make arrangements to stay with family or friends (if possible).

– Prepare to move disabled persons, children, and/or neighbours, if assistance is needed.

– Prepare to take pets with you and move livestock to a safe area (if possible).

– Arrange transportation for all your household members. Fill the gas tanks of personal vehicles.

– Arrange accommodation for all members of the residence, if possible.

– Wait for an evacuation order to be issued before evacuating.

For more information, and to access the interactive Emergency Map, visit

To report a wildfire, call BC Wildfire Service at 1-800-663-5555 or at *5555 on your cellphone. For the Wildfire Info Line, call 1-888-336-7378.