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Criminals take advantage as Fort Nelson residents flee wildfire: Police

The Parker Lake wildfire is burning just a few kilometres west of town
A view of the Parker Lake wildfire near Fort Nelson, B.C. is shown on Monday, May 13, 2024 in a BC Wildfire Service handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-BC Wildfire Service **MANDATORY CREDIT**

RCMP in Fort Nelson have made some arrests for property crime amid wildfire evacuations in the area.

North District RCMP Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said in an emailed statement there have been some isolated incidents of property crime, and some arrests have been made. The investigations remain ongoing.

Saunderson said officers are supporting emergency operations in the area as wildfires rage nearby. She added it is “important to remember that our primary responsibilities are to keep the public safe and uphold the law.”

We will take all necessary steps to mitigate conflicts that pose a real threat to the safety and security of officers, the public and property. Criminal activity will not be tolerated in any area,” Saunderson said.

“The RCMP has developed and maintains emergency plans to address situations such as this ensuring that there are enough officers available at all times to address policing requirements.”

The Parker Lake wildfire, which is an estimated 8,433 hectares as of Tuesday (May 14) is burning just kilometres west of Fort Nelson.

The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and the For Nelson First Nation have each issued evacuation orders for the area. About 4,700 people remain under evacuation order.

READ MORE: Homes remain safe as B.C. wildfire nudges closer to Fort Nelson

READ MORE: B.C. rallying resources to protect Fort Nelson from encroaching wildfire

Two other wildfires in the area, the Patry and Nogah creek wildfires, have also led to evacuation orders.

Patry Creek, which is an estimated 34,306 hectares as of Tuesday, is a holdover fire from last season. It has grown from the 0.5 hectares when evacuation alerts were first issued on Thursday.

The Nogah Creek wildfire is an estimated 60,605 hectares and deemed out of control. First discovered on May 5, the suspected cause is lightning. It is also a holdover fire.