A wildfire that has been raging through Rock Creek, BC, over the last week has forced the organizers behind the annual Ponderosa Arts & Music Festival to cancel this weekend's festivities over safety concerns.
A press release from Ponderosa confirms that while it had been monitoring the situation closely, the relative proximity of the fire has become too much of a safety concern to stage the event, which was to run August 21 to 23. After speaking with the district of Rock Creek and government officials, Ponderosa has opted to call off the weekend festival.
"Due to the dynamic nature of the fire we have continued to keep a close watch on its activity and how it may impact the festival. As we have always said, we are in no position to put the safety of our guests, staff, and others at risk," the Ponderosa team wrote in a statement. "We also have no intention to go against the recommendations of those who have up-to-date information on the status of the fires and who are working hard to protect the safety of those in the area."
The forest fire reportedly started just outside of Rock Creek last Thursday (August 13), and at its highest point thus far has grown to an over 40-square-kilometre blaze.
The CBC reports that over 30 homes and 15 building have been damaged or destroyed since last week, with a large-scale evacuation notice still in place for the community. The notice had been lifted for a number of residences earlier this week, though over 130 homes are still at risk.
This weekend's Ponderosa Arts & Music Festival was to host artists including Mounties, Fake Shark Real Zombie, High Ends, the Harpoonist & the Axe Murder, Bear Mountain, SAVVIE, Pumpkin, Honey Beard, Rhoneil, cAthedrAls and Jaguar.
"We are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused to all, especially to those friends and families that are travelling from far. Words can't express how much we were looking forward to this weekend and to hosting our guests," the festival wrote, adding, "We ask that you all please help us to spread this news to anyone who is currently planning to travel to Rock Creek for Ponderosa this weekend."