B.C. Wildfires displace 10,000 People

Wildfires are burning throughout the interior of British Columbia.  The southeastern part of the province near Kamloops has been under threat for the last two weeks.  The area’s  hot, dry, weather included temperatures up to 39C created the conditions for wildfires.

The fires spread thanks to Friday’s lightning storm which included high winds.  Over 140 fires were started because of the storm, and 100 more Saturday.   It’s estimated that 220 fires are burning across the province.

The fires have forced an estimated 10,000 people from their homes.  Kevin Skrepnek, BC’s chief wildfire information officer says personnel are focusing on larger communities.  “Given the movement of people, and given the evacuations, we want to make sure those access routes are available so people can get out if they need to,” he said according to CBC.

Premier Christy Clark has announced a provincial state-of-emergency, which included setting up a $100 million fund.  ” as the full force of the fire becomes clear, British Columbians need to know that government support will be sustained. Today, the Province is announcing a $100-million fund that will provide impacted communities and residents the resources needed to rebuild,” she explained.  Clark will leave office July 22, 2017, and says she has briefed the transition team.

The Canadian Red Cross has set up an appeal here.  They are asking those displaced to register with them.   Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan confirmed yesterday that the Canadian Forces have sent air assets, liaison and personnel to help fight the fires. The provinces of Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Alberta are all sending crews to help fight the fires.

Update: 13/7/2017:  New Evacuation Order for Williams Lake 

There was some progress made in fighting the wildfires.  Twelve new wildfires started Wednesday bringing the total to 183.  22 of these are considered “wildfires of note.”  Williams Lake is under an evacuation alert.  One new evacuation order was issued in an 8km wide area west of there.

78,000 hectares have burned so far this wild-fire season, which started April 1.  Officers from the RCMP in Alberta are on their way to help with evacuations.  “We received overwhelming support in Fort McMurray last year,” RCMP Const. Roderick Doe said according to Global News.   The wildfires in Fort McMurray caused the evacuation of the entire city.