This photo shows some of the hundreds of personnel who have come from around the world to fight the Elephant Hill wildfire. (Facebook/BC Wildfire Service)

2017 wildfire season will go down as “unprecedented”

Kevin Skrepnek says this wildfire season will go down in history, both for its volatility and the resilience of British Columbians.

Weather conditions continue to play a crucial factor in containment of the 138 wildfires currently burning throughout British Columbia.

There is little rain in the forecast for much of the province and that means the BC Wildfire Service expects work to continue into the fall before all the fires and hotspots can be mopped up, according to Kevin Skrepnek, B.C.’s Chief Fire Information Officer.

RELATED: Premier to tour wildfire-affected regions

In northern B.C. they expect isolated showers with a slight risk of lightening, but temperatures will remain warm and dry everywhere else —the area around the Kamloops Fire Centre will reach into the mid 30’s this week. Skrepnek says a shift in longterm weather could alleviate things quite a bit, but even with a lot of rain across the southern portion of the province, it will still take some time to get things under control.

Over the weekend, progress was made on both the Philpott Road fire near Kelowna (20 per cent contained) and the Elephant Hill Fire near Cache Creek (50 per cent contained), but the Plateau wildfire in the Cariboo-Chilcotin remains the largest in the province this year, and the largest in recorded history at roughly 492,000 hectares as of today.

At the peak of wildfire season Emergency Management BC had issued evacuation orders to 45,000 residents and there are still 19 orders in place, and another 11,000 people under alert.

RELATED: Wildfire crews fined for breaking campfire ban

With the Labour Day long weekend ahead, officials ask the public to remain vigilant and report any wildfires. Let someone know where you’re going, be aware of campfire bans and any backcountry restrictions.

Some traffic advisories remain in place and motorists are encouraged to watch DriveBC for the most up-to-date information.

RELATED: Sheepdogs stick with their flock throughout wildfire

FortisBC has announced it will now be providing support to customers impacted by the wildfires. A credit will be given to approximately 12,000 natural gas and 2,400 electricity customers during the period of time they were under evacuation orders.

For impacted natural gas customers, this includes the basic, commodity, storage and transport and delivery charges. For impacted electricity customers, this includes the prorated monthly customer charges and applicable per kilowatt hour charges. In both cases, this includes all consumption charges incurred during the evacuation period.

Fortis will also stop calling customers to remind them of outstanding bills and will waive late payment charges on those accounts affected by wildfires.

RELATED: Campfire ban lifted in Northern B.C.

The cost to date for BC Wildfire Service now stands at $404.1 million, with crews responding to 1,127 fires across the province since April 1. These fires have burned 1,061,618 hectares — the most in recorded history.

Asked to present a silver lining to this wildfire season, Skrepnek pointed to no deaths or serious injuries. With thousands of crew members manning the fire lines and many more being evacuated, he said both the public and this province’s first responders have been incredibly diligent throughout the process.


 

@ragnarhaagen
ragnar.haagen@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Pedestrian killed on Highway 22 Saturday evening

Police say 51-year-old man died after being hit by car

UPDATE: DriveBC says highway re-opened after accident

Highway 22 closed for seven hours on Saturday

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Métis Flag flies in Trail on Louis Riel Day

Area students, officials and public attend flag raising at Trail City Hall

Early Trail borrowed a couple of names from the U.S.

Place Names: Connection between Trail and Butte, Montana

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read