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October 27, 2017 3:55 pm

Wind Worries for B.C. Wildfire Service

Friday, August 18, 2017 @ 1:47 PM

Prince George, B.C.- “The next day, day  and a half, are going to be critical in terms of the weather, and we are getting our crews and resources in place to respond as best we can.”  Those are the words  of Kevin Skrepnek, Chief Information Officer with the BC Wildfire Service.

It’s all because of a cold front that is moving into the province,  and Skrepnek says  the wind is expected  to gust to up to 80 kilometers per hour in some areas “That is  going to be lasting throughout today  and overnight into Saturday.”

He says the weather system is going to lead to an increase in activity and likely  growth on existing fires.

Fire fighting crews have been preparing for the situation by  reinforcing guards around the fires,  the largest of which is the Hanceville- Riske creek blaze, which is now estimated to be 218,000 hectares in size.  The Elephant Hill fire is estimated at 168 thousand  hectares.

There have already been 7 new fires reported today,   in addition to the four new fires  that were  started yesterday.  That brings the total  number of fires burning in the Province to  140,  and the number of hectares burned is now 902 thousand.

Earlier today, the Province announced it was extending the State of Emergency in B.C. for another two weeks.

Meantime,  many of the seasonal workers with the B.C. Wildfire Service  are making plans to head  back to school and the number of out of Province  firefighters has dipped.  Right now there are  622 out of Province  fire fighters battling the blazes.  Skrepnek says  replacements will be found “That number ( out of province resources) has fluctuated up and down,  as some crews are demobilized and other crews arrive.  I expect it  is going to get back up into that 770,  750  mark we’ve been at for a while now.  In terms of the  loss of the  seasonal workers, that is an issue we face every year, obviously this year, given the level of activity it’s a concern,  We are currently  looking at about 30 to  4 percent of  our seasonal firefighters are  going to beheading back to school for the Labour Day  long weekend. So, we are going to continue  to look to out of province for resources we are going to  continue to leverage  the forestry fire crews that we can get access to,  we do have the Canadian Armed forces assisting right now.”





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