No Time to Be Complacent – Skrepnek
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.”