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Fire forces evacuation of music festival near Princeton, B.C.

A wildfire burning near Princeton, B.C., forced the evacuation of a music festival attended by about 500 people on Sunday evening, according to the town's mayor.

Music festival near Princeton with around 500 attendees evacuated Sunday evening after fire ignited nearby

Trees with smoke are pictured.

The latest on the wildfires:

  • The Rice Road wildfire near Princeton, B.C., forced the evacuation of a music festival Sunday evening.
  • A new evacuation alert was issued for 85 properties in the Thompson-Nicola Regional district due to the Bush Creek East wildfire. The properties affected are located along Agate Bay Road about 70 kilometres northeast of Kamloops.
  • The province has ended the state of emergency for the Stikine region in B.C.'s northwest after a month, rescinding all evacuation orders and alerts for the region.
  • A smoky skies bulletin was issued Monday for For Nelson, the central and southern Interior, and southeastern B.C.
  • Evacuation orders remain in place across B.C., including at Adams Lake and Gun Lake, and north of Lytton.
  • As of 2 p.m. PT, there are currently 408 active fires in B.C., with 16 fires of note — fires that are highly visible or threatening public safety.
  • Learn more about how to find the full list of wildfires, highway closures and evacuation orders and alerts.

A wildfire burning near Princeton, B.C., forced the evacuation of a music festival attended by about 500 people on Sunday evening, according to the town's mayor.

The B.C. Wildfire Service wrote in a social media post that it's responding to the Rice Road wildfire around 11 kilometres northwest of Princeton.

It says the fire, which is around three hectares in size — roughly the area of six football fields — is visible from Princeton and surrounding areas but no structures are currently threatened.

Mayor Spencer Coyne said the fire started Sunday evening, prompting RCMP and fire personnel to help evacuate the Under the Stars Music Festival.

"Because of the location of the festival itself, there is only one access in, it's on a private property," said Coyne.

Coyne said there were thousands of people visiting Princeton over the long weekend because several events were taking place in and around the town.

"Luckily, most people came in their campers or already had other means of accommodation, so when they evacuated out, most of them have found a place to go," he said.

Coyne says firefighters have told him they are hopeful they can contain the fire, adding that the town saw some rain last night after the festival was evacuated.

Musician Amrit Saggu, who goes by the stage name of Saint Soldier, was supposed to perform at the festival with his set scheduled to start at 9 p.m.

But he said he learned just before 8 p.m. that the festival would be evacuated.

"Everybody kind of moved quickly and calmly out of the area," said Saggu.

Saggu said he got one of the last spots in a local motel, but saw some people who looked like they were camping in nearby parks and parking lots.

"I think some people were bummed out about everything, but just feeling good that we were safe," said Saggu.

State of emergency rescinded for Stikine

Meanwhile, on Monday the province ended the state of emergency for the sparsely population Stikine region in B.C.'s northwest, rescinding all evacuation orders and alerts in the region as "people and structures are no longer at risk of wildfire."

The state of emergency had been in place for a month, with evacuation orders for areas affected by the Little Blue River wildfire.

The Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness wrote in a Monday statement hazard ratings remain high or extreme in many areas, and people should continue to follow fire bans.


Anyone placed under an evacuation order should leave the area immediately.

Evacuation centres have been set up throughout the province to assist anyone evacuating from a community under threat from a wildfire.

To find the centre closest to you, visit the Emergency Management B.C. website.

Evacuees are encouraged to register with Emergency Support Services online, whether or not they access services at an evacuation centre.


Do you have a story to share?

If you've been affected by the B.C. wildfires and want to share your story, email cbcnewsvancouver@cbc.ca.

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