Lightning causes 32 more fires in B.C.’s southern Interior

About 316,000 hectares has burned in the Cariboo and Chilcotin regions of the province

The rain that was seen as a faint glimmer of hope in the Chilcotin region Thursday has now passed, with hot, dry conditions and wind expected to continue into the weekend.

That’s according to B.C Wildfire Services information officer Navi Saini, who reported 32 new fire starts caused by lightning in the Cariboo and Kamloops Fire Centres.

Rain varied across the region, with some areas receiving up to 15 mm, she said, but that it’s hard to say how great of an impact the rainfall had.

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For any substantial impact, rainfull will have to be a lot for a prolonged period of time, she added.

The new fires bring the total number to 716 for the season, and 316,300 hectares burned – a decreased estimate due to more accurate mapping, she said.

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The weekend is looking a lot like the last, with warm weather and significant winds expected Sunday.

“The winds are difficult to predict,” Saini said, adding fire crews have been building guards along the highway near the Hanceville fire.

Canadian Army personnel from the Edmonton Garrison arrived in Williams Lake Friday to establish a base of operations, with 225 soldiers, 10 armoured vehicles and other equipment. Under direction of the RCMP, they are patrolling evacuated areas and assisting with movements for evacuees leaving or returning.

Significant fires update:

  • Gustafsen – 5,700 ha, 45 per cent contained
  • Hanceville – 135,000 ha 0 per cent contained
  • White Lake – 12,000 ha, 10 per cent contained
  • Wildwood complex – 13,215 ha, 20 per cent contained
  • Elephant Hill – 58,367 ha, 30 per cent contained