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October 27, 2017 4:16 pm

BC Wildfire Update: Fires Have Claimed 305 Structures to Date

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 @ 2:02 PM

Photo courtesy BC Wildfire Service

Prince George, B.C. – Seventy-one homes have been destroyed due to wildfires in British Columbia so far, this summer.

Robert Turner, assistant deputy minister with Emergency Management BC, confirmed the news during a teleconference today.

“To date it has been reported to us that 305 structures have been lost. That is 71 homes, 116 outbuildings such as sheds and barns and other buildings that are not used for residential or commercial purposes,” he said.

“Three commercial buildings – shops and other structures used for business and commercial activity. 115 of the 305 have yet to be identified as to what the structures are. No critical infrastructure has been lost.”

He said the Cariboo Regional District appears to be the hardest hit with 45 homes lost and 111 outbuildings destroyed.

In the Thompson-Nicola Regional District he said one commercial building has been lost though that’s the area of the province where the 115 unidentified destroyed structures are located.

Turner added the Ashcroft Indian Band lost 12 homes and one commercial building. All numbers were provided to Emergency Management BC by local governments.

Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, noted we’re nowhere near out of the woods yet either.

He said there are currently 138 fires burning province-wide – including 14 new ones sparked yesterday.

Those fires have now scorched 460,000 hectares of forest with little relief in sight.

Skrepnek said sunny and dry conditions will persist this week – with temperatures expected to hit the mid to high 30s in southern B.C.

He also noted there’s the potential for wide spread weather instability this weekend with a 20 to 30 per cent chance of thunder-storms.

Skrepnek said the Elephant Hill fire, north of Cache Creek and west of Clinton, has now grown to 84,000 hectares and remains 30 per cent contained.

Nearly 500 personnel are fighting the blaze including firefighters, support staff, structural protection crews and heavy equipment operators.

He said it’s difficult to map the exact distance the blaze is from Clinton – one of two communities it forced the evacuation of over the weekend (the other being 70 Mile House) – but confirmed it hasn’t reached the village yet.

Skrpenek said lifting the evacuation orders will be dependent on the weather “we get over the next little while.”


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