Gusty Winds Could Complicate Wildfire Battle
Prince George, B.C.-Chief Wildfire Information Officer, Kevin Skrepnek says there are now 225 wildfires active across the province.
Yesterday, just under 100 fires were sparked, and heavy smoke has made it difficult to accurately map the size of the fires.
“We are expecting more gusty winds today” says Skrepnek who says those winds can make a difficult situation even more challenging. He says he expects more evacuation alerts and orders to be issued in the coming days “The situation is quite fluid.”
“We are expecting further support” says Skrepnek, who says a request has been made for more than 300 personnel made up of specialists and fire fighting crews from across the country. They are expected to start arriving this week.
Chris Duffy, with Emergency Management B.C. says Canadian Armed Forces assets are on the way in the form of three Griffon Helicopters arriving today, and larger fixed wing aircraft coming in the next few days. “They will be moved around throughout the province wherever they are needed.” The aircraft would not be involved directly in fire suppression efforts, but more likely to be utilized to help in evacuations or emergency situations.
Duffy says while numbers of evacuees are not yet solid, but “1800 evacuees from Williams Lake have been registered and sent to Prince George, a further 1200 have registered at 100 Mile. Overall it might be about 7 thousand, but that number is fluid.”
Skrepnek says so far, it is estimated the fires have burned 23,697 hectares . That could change, as accurate estimates of fires are not available, but Skrepnek says he thinks that number could be much larger.
The situation is far from over, “We are going to be at the mercy of the weather” says Skrepnek.