(Public Safety Canada)

B.C. wildfire season hits 599 fires

Over $50 million has been spent on the firefighting effort

The province isn’t likely to get a reprieve from the wildfires ravaging the B.C. interior any time soon, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Chief information officer Kevin Skrepnek said that they are expecting more hot weather, lightning and strong winds. Specialist staff from Alberta are on their way to offer expertise gleaned from last year’s Fort Mac fire.

Skrepnek said that fighting the 599 fires across B.C. this season has cost the province $53.5 million. The province currently has 200 helicopters and 40 planes, mostly on short term contracts.

While fire activity has ramped up in the past few weeks, Skrepnek said, 2017 is not an unusual intense fire season. At this time in 2016, there had been 496 fires and 93,000 hectares burned. The 10-year average for July 11 sits at 48,000 hectares.

“Discarded cigarettes, abandoned campfires, irresponsible use of off-road vehicles” are the main causes of human-caused fires, Skrepnek said.

RELATED: RCMP send 340 officers from B.C. and Alberta to help with wildfires

According to BC Emergency Management deputy minister Robert Turner, there are currently 14,365 evacuees across B.C. Several evacuation orders and alerts have been issued in the past few days; most notably in 100 Mile House and Williams Lake.

“That is a rough estimate,” said Turner. “Most of those who have evacuated have not registered.”

All evacuees are asked to register either online or by phone at 1-800-863-6582 with the Canadian Red Cross. Earlier technical challenges with the system have been fixed, Turner added.

“That was very much a proactive step because of some of the weather we are expecting tomorrow… we have fires now in many directions around Williams Lake,” said Skrepnek. Evacuees from Williams Lake should head towards Prince George.

There are Canadian Forces aircraft in place if any air evacuation is necessary, Turner said.

The Prince George fire centre is dealing with its own issues – the Sutherland Road fire is at 1,800 hectares, the Grizzly Lake fire is 215 hectares and Tatelkuz Lake fire is over 1,000 hectares.

“The Coastal fire centre is not seeing the same level of activity as we are in the Cariboo fire centre,” said Skrepnek, “but we are making sure we have the equipment.”

Turner said that the province has an advanced planning unit that is looking 60 days ahead.

The Northwest fire centre has remained quiet with only eight of the over 200 fires burning across the province currently.

Major fires in B.C.:

  • Ashcroft fire – 7,300 ha
  • Princeton – 2,700 ha
  • Gustafsen fire – 5,000 ha
  • Wildwood fire – 2,500 ha
  • 100 Mile fire – 2,600 ha
  • Chilcotin fires – 10,000 ha
  • Little Fort east fires – 897 ha
  • Green Mountain fire (previously Dragon Mountain fire) – 1,500 ha
  • Precipice Creek fire – 800 ha

More to come.

Just Posted

Firefighters come to the rescue of Langley stroke survivors

Hope After Stroke receives major infusion after Cruise-In donation falls short of expectation.

UPDATED: New museums, community centre, condos proposed for Fort Langley

A new Township proposal is expected to go public this week.

Cloverdale banker shares his love of swing dancing

Cloverdale’s Phillip Kunz shows dancing newcomers how to get into the swing of things

Langley vs. Surrey means different approaches to road building

Development drives road construction in both cities.

Woman charged in Abbotsford mall stabbing served time for 2001 killing

Victim in Edmonton killing was stabbed eight times with kitchen knife

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Premier offers condolences to family of boy, 15, killed in Vancouver crossfire

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Council tells TransLink commission to make sure road pricing is fair

Maple Ridge tells road pricing commission to make sure system is fair

Sunwing vacation passengers left at Abbotsford airport

YXX staffers receive praise for help to passengers; airline criticized

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

Most Read