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October 27, 2017 4:23 pm

No Time to Be Complacent – Skrepnek

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 @ 1:48 PM

Prince George, B.C.- The weather is, once again,  going to be the deciding  factor on how things unfold  when it comes to  battling wildfires.

“We are making progress out there” says BC Wildfire Service Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek, “What we’ve got in the forecast right now,  with these winds we are expecting over the next 24 to 48 hours, those are going  to be a challenge.”   He says it is tricky to know  the wind’s direction, its velocity  and how long  it will  linger.  There is also  potential  for more dry lightning, which was the problem that sparked all of the fires   to begin with  on July 7th.

Skrepnek says while the  fire  situation seems to have calmed some,  and some areas did receive rain  over the weekend,  “That has lead to a bit of a lull in the case of some of these fires”  but adds, with how dry things have been, and given no rain  in the  forecast for the immediate future for much of the province, “Things are rebounding back quickly.  Yes, we have seen  relative calm out there, but this is typically when we  get our busiest time.”

With more hot dry weather expected over the coming days,  the danger persists says Skrepnek “We are seeing a high degree of dryness out there, it is still a very  volatile situation in most of southern B.C..  So we just urge the public  to remain vigilant given that we are now entering a period  in late July which is typically when some of our busiest activity kicks off.   Of course we’ve already had an almost unprecedented July already and we are entering a period where, typically, fire season gets its busiest. So  just because  we have seen, in some areas, a  bit of a lessening of activity,  we don’t want people getting complacent,  given that this is  when our core season is starting to kick in.”

The Cariboo Regional District  says  it has gained access to more  remote properties, and now confirms 41 homes and 88 outbuildings have been  lost to flames.   Those numbers  are up from those reported  on the weekend as  the District has been able to  access  more  properties  within its boundaries.  The numbers could  change again  as  conditions improve  and  assessments can be done on  more properties.

Here is the latest information on the major fires:

  • Gustafsen : 5,700 hectares,  and is 100% contained   this fire is being “held”  meaning it  is not expected to   go beyond its current  boundaries.
  • Hanceville:  131,958 hectares burned, 45% contained
  • White Lake  8107 hectares,
  • wildwood  13,215 hectares
  • Soda creek   251  hectares
  • West Fraser Road   120 Hectares
  • Green Mountain 533 hectares

While some parks have reopened,  Skrepnek  reemphasizes the need for people to  be extra careful “This is typically when we get to our busiest  period, and we’ve got a lot of summer ahead of us.”  He says  with the  forecast calling for  hot dry conditions,  it could “hit  the reset  button on what we’re going through  right now.”



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