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Local man affected by B.C. wildfires

Jack Hanlon is back home in St. John’s after leaving B.C., where he had been working, because of wildfires.
Jack Hanlon is back home in St. John’s after leaving B.C., where he had been working, because of wildfires.

Since April 1, there have been 657 wildfires in B.C. that have burned a total of 188,428 hectares.

The wildfires spreading across B.C. have forced one Newfoundlander back home.

Jack Hanlon has been working at Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia in William’s Lake B.C. for just over a year.

“On Friday (July 7), I saw three lightning bolts hit the ground,” said Hanlon. “Then I saw the smoke start to rise.”

Hanlon stayed at his home in Williams Lake that night, but when he woke on Saturday morning, he listened to his gut and decided to leave for Prince George, B.C.

“The inside of my apartment smelled like I was at a campfire,” said Hanlon. “I just wanted to get ahead of the chaos that I knew was about to start.”

Hanlon registered at the emergency center in Prince George. He received $90 for food upon registration.

“If I had known someone in Prince George, I would have also gotten money towards lodging,” said Hanlon. “But I stayed in a hotel, and that started getting expensive after a few nights.”

Pioneer building site on fire in 153 Mile, B.C.

Hanlon told The Telegram about one of the Pioneer work sites burning down in 153 Mile B.C.

“The workers had to decide whether to save the site, or help the local people evacuate,” said Hanlon. “So they decided to help others evacuate, and ended up losing the site.

“The founder of our company is still in B.C. with a makeshift water truck defending the site.”

Hanlon had already booked a trip back to St. John’s for the end of July. He was able to change the dates of his flights without paying a change fee.

He returned home to St. John’s on Saturday, just one day before an evacuation order was issued for Williams Lake.

Almost 40,000 B.C. residents have been evacuated so far, with 159 wildfires still burning in British Columbia.

As of Tuesday morning, the wildfire in Williams Lake was announced to be only 10 per cent contained.

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