Change in Weather Pattern Offers Fire Crews Temporary Reprieve
Prince George, B.C. – “A fairly significant shift in the weather” over the past few days has offered fire crews a temporary reprieve.
That from chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service this afternoon.
“And we expect that to continue,” he said. “Cooler temperatures and scattered rain across many parts of the province and higher humidities have certainly improved the wildfire situation.”
But he also noted it’s far too early in the summer for British Columbians to become over-confident.
“We need to ensure people aren’t getting complacent as a result of this rain,” said Skrepnek. “We had in some areas unprecedented temperatures and conditions the last two to three weeks so a few days of rain aren’t going to necessarily hit the reset button on that.”
He said there were 48 new wildfires sparked in B.C. yesterday (mostly lightning caused) bringing the total number of active wildfires to 251 (of these, 22 are active fires of note).
Skrepnek noted those fires have led to six states of local emergency and eight Evacuation Alerts and Orders.
That includes approximately 658 homes and an estimated 300 residents of Tsi Del Del (Alexis Creek) First Nations on Evacuation Alert and another 90 residences due to the Puntzi Lake wildfire.
As a result of the continued fire risk Skrepnek said the camp fire ban across the province remains in effect.
He noted since April 1 B.C. has had 1,065 fires, nearly double the 462 wildfires reported in the same time period in 2014.
He also said this year’s fires have torched over 279,000 hectares of forest at a cost of over $103 million.