BC Wildfire crews have made more headway in their fight to gain control over more than 100 fires burning across B.C. They’ll be assisted by rain showers which are predicted through much of the Cariboo region over the next 24 hours. However officials admit it’s not clear whether the showers will be heavy enough to provide a lot of help. By the time the weekend arrives, more dry weather returns to the region with forecast highs in the mid to high 20’s.
Only 4 new fires were reported across the province yesterday, leaving the count on active fires at 140. BC Wildfire Service Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says that’s a lower number of new starts than what fire officials have had to deal with recently. “That’s certainly welcome”, but he added, “but there is definitely a lot of active fire (behaviour) on the landscape.”
Officials provided updated figures on the major fires burning in the Cariboo. The Gustafsen fire which forced the evacuation of 100 Mile House has grown to 5,700 hectares. Officials say crews have managed to build containment lines around 45% of the fire.
The Hanceville-Riske Creek fire complex has swelled to 125,000 hectares and has 0% containment. The White Lake fire is estimated to be approximately 8,100 hectares and has 10% containment. And the Wildwood complex of fires, is 20% contained but has grown to more than 13,000 hectares. The three fires are surrounding Williams Lake. Officials says crews have been working to clear away future fuel sources from the edges of all of the fires, in an attempt to limit further growth.
Meantime the Elephant Hill fire, which was the fire that roared through Ashcroft and eventually Loon Lake, is 52,600 hectares and has 30% containment.
Ministry of Transportation officials say they were able to reopen Highway 1 through the Cache Creek area yesterday but say there is still no timeline for the reopening of Highway 97 through the Cariboo.
Wildfire officials says almost 3,000 firefighters and support staff are working the fires across the province, including over 360 from out of province. A group of firefighting specialists from Australia were due to arrive in Vancouver today. Fire crews are being assisted by 209 aircraft.
There have been 674 wildfires in the province since April 1st. They’ve burned 353,000 hectares of forest, costing the government more than $105 million.