Weather leads to Increase in BC Wildfires, Advisory to Public
Prince George, B.C. – An increase in wind conditions coupled with numerous lightning strike resulted in several new wildfire starts over the past 24 hours.
BC Wildfire Service spokesperson Ryan Turcotte says there are 163 fires burning in the province today, adding there were 28 new fires starts on Saturday, the bulk of them the result of lightning strikes. To date since April 1st there have been 1003 fires which have burned 664,920 hectares.
Firefighting costs total $285.2 million, with 4,016 personnel fighting fires today including 682 firefighters from out of province. There are also 1,609 contractors on the fire lines plus 233 aircraft providing support.
Turcotte says “we did see some pretty gusty winds yesterday which led to some aggressive fire behaviour and growth on many of the wildfires burning in the Cariboo. Gusty winds are expected to continue challenging firefighters both in the Cariboo and across the south. There is also some chance of lightning today throughout the Cariboo and Kamloops Fire Centres.” Turcotte says the winds will die somewhat in the south on Monday but will be slightly stronger in the north.
The Elephant Hill fire is estimated at 149,914 hectares in size and the fire, fanned by strong winds, spread to the southern shores of Green Lake and east to Deadman Valley on Saturday. The Hanceville (Riske Creek) fire has covered 193,894 hectares, and high winds led to extremely aggressive behaviour yesterday and last night.
Robert Turner, Assistant Deputy Minister with Emergency Management BC says “the fire activity we’ve seen in the last 24 hours is a reminder that people need to be prepared for an evacuation everywhere in the province. We can expect to see changes in orders/alerts in the Cariboo area around Elephant Hill today.”
“Every effort is being made to ensure the safety of the public but it is imperative that people recognize that fire behaviour can be unpredictable. We continue to see new fire starts and everyone in the province needs to be prepared for potential evacuation.”