BC wildfire crews prepare for windy weekend

16 July, 2017, 01:31 | Author: Gladys Mathis
  • As the sun sets on Wednesday a helicopter prepares to dump water on a blaze near Williams Lake

In addition to those, several fires are burning on the east side of Arrow Lake.

Wildfire conditions in B.C. are expected to worsen over the weekend as officials predict winds to pick up, fanning dozens of flare-ups that have forced more than 16,000 people from their homes.

There are now 183 fires burning across the province of B.C., including 12 that have been sparked in the past 24 hours.

Skrepnek said crews have been "using fire to fight fire" and conducted controlled burns in the paths of fires near Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and 150 Mile House to prevent them from spreading.

None of the fires in the region are large enough to be causing the smoke that has moved into the area.

The provincial government has also been asked to allow some movement on closed sections of Highway 97 so that people who left their homes in Williams Lake and went to Prince George could drive south to Vancouver.

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Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, says improved smoke conditions over the last 24 hours have permitted a more accurate size assessment of the almost 200 wildfires burning in the province, many of them in the Cariboo fire centre. An evacuation alert was issued Saturday for the Clisbako area.

"Given the proximity of existing wildfires to communities, infrastructure and transportation corridors, people throughout the Cariboo region and the southern Interior should be prepared for potential evacuations", the government states. Officials have not said how many people are affected.

Environment Canada said it expects widespread winds from 20 to 50 km/h to begin Saturday afternoon, with local wind gusts picking up Sunday morning in some valleys and canyons.

Officials said more than 80 per cent of the 6,150 households registered with the Red Cross will have received funds from the province by the end of Saturday.

For now, there are no imminent evacuation orders in our region, despite some active fires, but everyone must remain vigilant in this regard.

People on boats or other watercraft hoping to get a "better view" of the activity put both themselves, and those working the fires, at risk.

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