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October 27, 2017 3:49 pm

Little Change in Wildfire Situation

Friday, August 25, 2017 @ 1:45 PM

Prince George, B.C. – Although there  were  30 new  wildfires sparked yesterday  in the southeast portion of B.C.,  there has been little change in the status of  wildfires in the Cariboo.

Only one of the new fires sparked yesterday  has  become  significant, and that  fire is the one burning near Joe Rich, about  20 kilometers east of Kelowna.  Called the Philpott Road fire,  it is estimated to be  380  hectares, and grew rapidly  because  of  wind that  was recorded at up to 70 km per hour.  The fire  sparked an evacuation order,  forcing about 1100 people from their homes,  264 of whom have already registered for support.

The major  fires in the Cariboo,   saw little change  when it comes to activity,  but more accurate mapping has  now pegged the Plateau fire, north of Highway 20  at  492 thousand hectares.   That one fire is nearing the  size of Prince Edward Island.  The Elephant Hill fire  is now estimated to be  175 thousand hectares in  size  and is 35% contained,  while the Hanceville -Riske Creek  fire is estimated to be 227 thousand hectares.

There is some good news,   as highway 20 is now fully open.  That highway has been closed off and on since the  wildfires  started  causing major  problems in the Cariboo.  It had been opened   single lane for evacuation purposes,  but is now,   fully accessible from Williams Lake through to Bella Coola.

Numerous  evacuation orders have been rescinded  over the past  few  days,  and  daily media conference calls which  provided a one stop shop for  media to get information,  are being scaled back. Kevin Skrepnek, Chief Wildfire Information Officer with  BC Wildfire Service  says that doesn’t mean the  fire season is  nearing an end “Certainly if the situation  changes we will start   these calls up again on a daily basis,  and all the  agencies are still working 24-7 on what’s going on.    This was just seen  as things are slightly less dynamic on a day to day basis.”

There continues to  be 20 evacuation orders in place in B.C.,  impacting  3,600 residents.  Another 37 evacuation alerts  are  in effect,  impacting  about 12 thousand people.

As of today, there are 157 fires  burning in  B.C.




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