No Timeline for a Return to Williams Lake
Prince George, B.C. – There are now 140 fires burning in B.C, 4 of which were new fires that were sparked yesterday.
“Certainly welcome news” says Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek, who adds there are still 27 fires of note in the province, 15 of them are interface fires and the activity around Williams Lake continues..
The Wildwood fire is estimated to be 13,215 hectares and is 20% contained. Skrepnek says crews continue to create a guard around that fire. The White Lake fire, which cut off access on Highway 97 north is smaller than previously reported, as crews were able to do more accurate mapping. It is now estimated to be 8107 hectares, and 10% contained.
There is no indication of when the Williams Lake residents may be able to return home. “The wildfire situation is one portion of the consideration that a local government has to make when they put an ( evacuation) order in place” says Skrepnek “There are issues around utilities, issues around infrastructure around getting that city prepared to return to some semblance of normal, that all takes time. It’s not just a matter of when the fire situation calms down, and for that matter, we are still having active fires in almost all directions around Williams Lake, so at this point, I can’t offer a time line on it, and it’s going to depend on a lot of those factors I just mentioned on when people can expect re-entry.”
The Gustafsen fire is estimated 5700 hectares, and 45 % contained.
The Hanceville fire is estimated at 125,000 hectares and is 0% contained, however, Skrepnek says there has been progress on building some fire guards.
Elephant Hill ( previously known as the Ashcroft fire) is estimated at 52,600 hectares and is 30% contained.
Skrepnek says the weather has been “calm” for the past couple of days, “relative to what we have been experiencing over the past few weeks. Unfortunately there is still a risk of thunderstorms across many parts of southern B.C. there will be some gusty winds with those storms and any lightning that results from the storm, obviously, a key concern for us.”
The forecast is calling for rain in a number of areas in southern B.C. tomorrow “We certainly hope that rain does materialize” says Skrepnek “But having said that, it looks like it’s going to be a very brief event. Beyond tomorrow, a return to more hot and dry.”. He says the rain tomorrow “Might be a very temporary reprieve.”
Since April 1st of this year, there have been 674 fires in B.C., which have consumed an estimated 353 thousand hectares.