Trudeau Visit ‘A Morale Boost’ says Skrepnek
Prince George, B.C. – The Elephant Hill fire north of Cache Creek continues to rage on.
Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, said the blaze has grown to 78,548 hectares.
“It’s 30 per cent contained and has over 360 firefighters – including support staff working on it,” he said during today’s media briefing.
The fast-moving fire forced the evacuation of Clinton and 70 Mile House over the weekend.
Skrepnek says there are currently 149 fires burning in B.C. – that includes seven new fires that started yesterday. Over 3,700 firefighting personnel are battling the blazes (which have cost $178.5 million to fight so far).
Since the season started April 1, the fires have burnt 426,000 hectares – the third worst fire season in provincial history with “at least a month left of fire activity”.
In the short term, he says not to expect any help from Mother Nature.
“We are on the cusp of a heat wave in southern B.C. The North is less of a concern from a wildfire perspective. We’re expecting record breaking highs by mid-week. 40 degrees in Kamloops by Thursday.”
Skrepnek called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Williams Lake “a morale boost” for fire crews today noting many of them were evacuated earlier this month in Williams Lake.
Robert Turner, assistant deputy minister with Emergency Management BC, noted there are currently 25 evacuation orders and 47 alerts in effect across the province.
He also said $9 or $10 million of the $100 million the provincial government pledged for the wildfire relief effort has been spent so far.