Massive Tolko Mill fire forces evacuations near Armstrong
ARMSTRONG, B.C. – Firefighters and water bombers are still fighting a major fire at the Tolko Mill south of Armstrong and more than 100 people living in four mobile home parks nearby have been evacuated.
RCMP said the mill was still safe but the hog pile (chip pile) located just north of the building ignited at around 3:20 p.m. on Sunday and efforts to contain the blaze were ongoing in the middle of the night and into early Monday morning.
“The large chip pile, commonly referred to as the Hog Pile, located just North of the mill building ignited. Tolko Mill responded to the fire but with the high winds the fire quickly grew in size and began to spread to the log yard North of the mill and hog pile,” said RCMP spokesman Sgt. David Evans.
Numerous area fire departments were called in to assist as smoke billowed from the chip pile and the log storage area.
Air tankers dropped fire retardant and helicopters were called in to carry out water drops.
RCMP and search and rescue staff evacuated the Valley Auction facility north of the fire as well as four area mobile home parks. Residents of Twin Furs, Belvas, Meadow Ridge and Pallisades were told to head to an emergency reception centre a the Centennial Hall on Pleasant Valley road in Armstrong.
A FAMILY STOPPED BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND TOOK THE FOLLOWING VIDEOS NARRATED BY A NINE-YEAR-OLD.
Highway 97A, between Smith Drive in Armstrong and the intersection with 97 at the Swan Lake junction is closed in both directions. When the road will open is not clear.
RCMP said the fire continued to burn in the hog pile and the log yard as night fell.
No structural damage is reported to the mill.