Wildfire Services Hoping Cooling Trend Will Give Them a Break
Prince George, B.C.- The current forecast calls for hot dry conditions for the week ahead, but there is a possibility of a ‘cooling trend’ by the middle of the month, and that is something the B.C. Wildfire Service is hoping will happen.“We are keeping an eye on that for any possible relief from the (current) situation” says BC Wildfire Service Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek “Until then, we are expecting, and preparing for continued hot and dry conditions challenging in terms of lightning and new fire starts and no real relief for at least the next week, at least.”
The Elephant Hill fire has been burning for a full month now, and there are still no signs of it letting up. It is estimated to be 110 thousand hectares in size, it is 30% contained, but there was aggressive behaviour last evening on the north east flank of that fire. The B.C. Wildfire Service has 488 firefighters, an incident management team, 92 structural protection personnel, 86 support staff , 22 helicopters and 105 pieces of heavy equipment working on trying to contain this blaze.
Skrepnek is not able to say definitively if people are honouring the restrictions on campfires or off road vehicles, “I think generally, people are getting the message ” says Skrepnek “The fact that we conditions that are as hot and as dry and as volatile as they are right now, and that we are only getting about 6 new fires ( a day), I think that speaks to the fact that people are taking the threat of human caused fires seriously. With conditions that dire, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to be getting dozens of new fires every day.”
It is possible back country and off road vehicle restrictions could be increased says Skrepnek, as the conditions are monitored daily.
Since April, the fires in B.C. have burned an estimated 591 thousand hectares, an area larger than the entire province of Prince Edward Island.