According to the BC Wildfire Service’s latest estimate, there are currently 219 fires burning across the province with 35 new ones starting yesterday.
Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says the weather continues to be a challenge.
“We are expecting a continuation of hot dry conditions across the south with potentially aggressive weather coming in to the central part of the province tomorrow. Potential winds, potential lightning word for keeping a close eye on that. Not a lot of rain really forecast at all at this point for the southern part of the province.”
Rain would be a much appreciated relief for firefighters.
Last night, an evacuation alert was issued for Williams Lake due to the weather forecast.
“We have two fires burning near Williams Lake,” says Skrepnek. “They have not grown together but we’re managing them as one incident. One of them is the Wildwood fire, which is approximately 2,500 hectares and then the other is the 150 Mile House fire, which is also estimated in the same neighbourhood – around 2600 hectares.”
Near Quesnel, Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says there has been progress on the Green Mountain Fire (previously Dragon Mountain)
“We’ve successfully gotten some containment lines around it. We’re estimating about 60% of the fire has got containment lines. Having said that though. just with where it’s burning and with the size of the fire, there’s still potential for it to continue to grow. We’re definitely making progress out there and…an incident management team is going to be arriving there today to take over the command of that fire.”
The fire is currently estimated at about 1,500 hectares.
Emergency Management BC says at least 14,300 people have been evacuated so far but that number is probably low. They believe many evacuees have not yet registered with the Red Cross.
Anyone who has been ordered to evacuate or has left an area under evacuation alert is encouraged to do so. Registration can be done by phone at 1-800-863-6582 or online.
While the situation remains serious, the emergency situation is bringing out the best in many people.
“What we’re seeing is an outpouring of support from residents,” says Robert Turner, Assistant Deputy Minister with Emergency Management B.C. “People are opening their homes to those who have been impacted by the fires. We’re seeing a lot of compassion on the part of people in the province and a lot of support from others. for example the people from Alberta, who have been providing support, particularly those who were impacted by the fire last year in Fort McMurray. That’s great for us to be seeing.”