14 New Wildfires Sparked Friday
Williams Lake, B.C. – There are 138 wildfires now burning in British Columbia.
That from Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, this afternoon.
Of those 14 new fires, he says seven were lightning-caused, four human-caused, while the cause behind the final three are currently undetermined. Skrepnek says the fire starts were evenly spread across B.C.
Despite the 14 starts, he says things could have been much worse with yesterday’s gusty winds.
“I’m happy to report it (wind) didn’t cause the level of activity we were bracing for. In many cases it came with cooler temperatures or a little bit of rain though certainly not enough rain to put a dent in the situation. It’s still dry out there.”
He’s also pleased considering there was “no significant growth” on the province’s two largest fires – the 168,00-hectare Elephant Hill fire (which is now 25 per cent contained) and the largest blaze in the province – the 218,000-hectare Hanceville-Riske Creek fire.
Despite the lack of growth on those two fires, Chris Duffy, executive director of operations with Emergency Management BC, says around 100 people were evacuated from Tatla Lake and north of Kleena Kleene in the west Chilcotin last night.
Skrepnek adds we’re nowhere near out of the woods yet.
“We’re still urging people to be cautious with backcountry activity. We must do everything we can to prevent human-caused fires.”
Since the start of the season on April 1, he says there have been 1,049 fires burning 944,000 hectares of forest – well past the previous record of 855,000 hectares burnt set back in 1958.
So far, those fires have cost the Province $337.3 million to fight and are currently putting 3,700 firefighting personnel to the test. That number includes roughly 1,400 contractors, 600 out-of-province personnel, 300 members of the Canadian Armed Forces and 179 aircraft.