A firefighter uses a torch to set fire to brush during a prescribed burn to help prevent the Finlay Creek wildfire from spreading near Peachland, B.C., on Thursday September 7, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. loses more than one million hectares to wildfires

There have been 1,249 fires that have burned through roughly 1,173,886 hectares in B.C.

As cooler temperatures and calmer weather moves in to the province, the B.C. Wildfire situation is getting less critical.

The BC Wildfire Service states that the provincial State of Emergency is expected to expire on Friday.

The State of Emergency was extended on Sept. 1 until this Friday, Sept. 15. The last extension was the fourth time since it was initially enacted on July 19.

Related: Provincial state of emergency declared

“We are seeing a bit of downturn in some parts of the province which is great, but it is certainly not time for people to get complacent,” said Kevin Skrepnek, the Province’s Chief Wildfire Information officer.

“It terms of the dryness we are seeing in the deeper levels of the forest floor, it is still unprecedented. There is still potential out there and we don’t want people getting complacent just because we are seeing activity mellow out here.”

There are currently 155 fires burning across the province with four new ones sparked on Tuesday.

A total of 3,359 firefighters and support staff are on the ground in B.C., this includes about 300 out-of-province personnel and 1,500 contractors. They are supported by more than 100 aircraft.

Since April 1, 2017, 1,249 fires have burned through roughly 1,173,886 hectares. This has cost the BC Wildfire Service $510.2 million and that figure doesn’t include costs accrued by all the other agencies helping out this summer.

One of those agencies is the Canadian Armed Forces.

Emergency Management BC executive director Chris Duffy said Canadian military members will be phased out in the coming week as the fire activity continues to decrease across the province.

“Given that declining fire behaviour, coupled with the return to a more seasonal weather pattern, we came to a consensus to see those extraordinary assistance levels start to wind down a bit,” said Duffy.

“I want to thank the Federal Government and the Armed Forces for its sustained effort and professionalism over a long, protracted campaign. Their assistance was invaluable to B.C. Thank you.”

As of Wednesday morning, there were 12 evacuation orders in place in B.C. for 3,202 people, and another 30 evacuation alerts that could potentially affect 7,250 residents.

Skrepnek adds that both the campfire ban and off-road vehicle ban remain in place.

Related: Off-road vehicle ban carries on into hunting season

Fires of note

  • The Lamb Creek fire southwest of Cranbrook near Moyie Lake is 1,978 hectares – “I visited the fire yesterday, it is definitely still active and creating quite a bit of smoke, but there is good progress on the ground. We have just under 170 personnel on there as we speak,” said Skrepnek.
  • Linklater Creek wildfire, eight Kilometres southwest of Newgate, is 927 hectares
  • Diamond Creek fire in B.C.’s southern interior near the US border is currently 9,500 hectares in size on the Canadian side – “Still a large effort here, more than 400 personnel working on that fire. Some activity ahead but we are seeing cooler temperatures up there, higher humidity. It is much less volatile,” added Skrepnek.
  • Plateau fire in the North Chilcotin is 521,648 hectares
  • Elephant Hill fire near Cache Creek is 192,725 hectares and 50 per cent contained
  • The Hanceville-Riske Creek wildfire is 239,673 hectares and is considered 100 per cent contained

Related: Finlay Creek wildfire now fully contained

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cell phone.


 

@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

21 new paramedics promised to Kamloops, Chase

A total of 18 new full-time paramedics will be hired for Kamloops and three are being hired for Chase.

Village of Ashcroft on Stage 4 water restrictions

Two river pumps have malfunctioned, meaning limited water to the reservoirs.

B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

64 cats seized from ‘bad situation’ now in BC SPCA care

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marissa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Trudeau says Canada wants to see ‘movement’ before signing revised NAFTA deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back in Washington in search of a way to bridge divide

Young people need us to act on climate change, McKenna tells G7 ministers

Catherine McKenna led off the three-day Halifax gathering Wednesday

B.C. woman facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog seized

Kira, a Rottweiler, had kidney and bladder infections

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon.

Most Read