Hot and Dry Weather to Continue Over Long Weekend
Prince George, B.C. – B.C.’s wildfire season continues with a vengeance.
Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, says there are 123 fires currently burning in B.C. – including nine new fires that started yesterday.
He says the fires have now burned 509,000 hectares of forest which has cost the Province $211.7 million to suppress so far.
Skrepnek adds 3,800 personnel have been deployed to fight the fires including 800 out-of-province personnel, 800 contractors and 209 aircraft.
Looking ahead to the long weekend, he says hot and dry conditions are expected to persist in the Cariboo and southern B.C though Skrepnek says the possibility of lightning has been pushed from this weekend to Monday to Wednesday next week.
As for the largest fire of note in B.C. – the Elephant Hill fire north of Cache Creek – he says that blaze has grown to 93,755 hectares and remains 30 per cent contained.
“The southwest portion of the fire is displaying aggressive behaviour,” says Skrepnek, who adds there are 446 fire personnel currently deployed to that fire including an incident management team, 86 support staff and over 100 pieces of heavy equipment.
He adds the hot and dry conditions are what prompted the Province to issue an off-road vehicle prohibition on Crown land starting at noon today (for the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres).
Dr. Bonnie Henry, deputy provincial health officer, expects the heat and poor air quality to continue into the weekend.
“That combination can be tough for people. Mainly young people, the elderly and those with chronic health problems.”
With that in mind, she suggests checking on family members and neighbours who may be more susceptible to the adverse conditions.
Henry says the best bet to stay hydrated is to drink water and to avoid large amounts of alcohol and coffee.
She also recommends closing your curtains and windows that face the sun and to never leave kids or pets in a vehicle.
Henry adds there’s no medical evidence that continued exposure to wildfire smoke causes long-term health effects like cancer.