A helicopter sprays the wildfire in Princeton. A helicopter sprays the wildfire in Princeton. (Black Press)

Wildfires burn 78,000 hectares across B.C.

Rate of new fires slowing down

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 36 fewer wildfires burning across B.C. compared to yesterday, according to chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek.

Crews have been able to better map the fire borders today, Skrepnek said, leading to the apparent growth in hectares burned.

RELATED: Interactive map paints B.C. wildfire picture

The outlook province-wide is better today than it was yesterday, Skrepnek noted. There are 183 fires burning in B.C. today, down from 219 yesterday. In total, there have been 602 fires since April 1; 12 of those started today.

“Yesterday was a good day compared to what we’ve been seeing,” said Skrepnek. “Going into this weekend there is a potential for some gusty winds. We are keeping a close eye on that.”

RELATED: Surrey firefighters arrive in Williams Lake today to battle wildfires

Skrepnek said that while firefighters have been making progress against the flames blanketing B.C., they are pacing themselves for a potentially long fire season.

Crews are in a good place right now but it is only July 12,” said Skrepnek. “We’re currently at 300 [out-of-province] personnel right now.”

VIDEO: Devastating footage from Boston Flats

There are 37 fixed wing aircraft currently in the BC Wildfire Service fleet, including 13 additional aircraft the service has brought in, and approximately 200 helicopters.

There are no plans to hire the Hawaii Mars for this firefighting season, Skrepnek noted.

“There are simply more effective aircraft that are available,” he said.

RELATED: Province says no to Hawaii Mars

Speaking to the photos on social media showing firefighters at a campfire despite the campfire zone, Skrepnek said that the issue will be investigated.

“We are aware of those images,” Skrepnek said. “The ministry is taking the matter very seriously.”

Emergency Management BC deputy minister Robert Turner said that 7,886 people have registered at local emergency social services centres and 3,500 are taking advantage of the emergency lodging available.

Hot, dry and windy weather continues to be expected across the B.C. interior, Skrepnek noted and out-of-province firefighters have been added to beef up B.C.’s ranks. Turner said that 150 fire departments from across B.C. have offered their help and a total of 22 have been deployed. Canadian Forces personnel are on standby but Turner said that they will be a “last resort.”

RELATED: Seven days is a “Disneyland suggestion” for returning home

While much of the wildfire zone remains smoky, BC Centre for Disease Control data shows that the air quality has improved somewhat.

It’s the first time we’ve seen blue skies [in Kamloops] in a few days,” said Skrepnek.

“[The smoke]hasn’t been a significant hindrance,” said Skrepnek. “It was never to the point where the [Kamloops] airport has been closed down.”

RCMP officers from all around the province are being deployed to the southeast and north districts, Sgt. Annie Linteau said.

“Those officers are there to supplement the officers already there on the ground,” said Linteau, adding that the redistribution of officers won’t affect policing in other areas of B.C.

“As of yesterday, there had been 300 additional members that had or will be deployed.”

On Wednesday, RCMP officers from Alberta have also been sent to help out.

RELATED: Break and enter arrest made in 100 Mile evacuation area

Speaking to the incidents of looting that have been reported upon, Linteau said the RCMP are monitoring those closely.

“I can confirm that those incidents are somewhat isolated,” said Linteau. “We invite anyone who sees suspicious activity to phone their local police detachment immediately.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Falcons host basketball invitational

40 student volunteers helped support 180 players, 28 games

Atom Stars host hockey tourney

Seven teams from the region clashed sticks

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read