As reported in yesterday’s media release the wildfire burning south of Peachland is now fully contained, and fire crews don’t expect it grow any larger.
Kevin Skrepnek fire information officer, says the fire is being held at four hectares, and BC Wildfire Service firefighters remained on scene overnight.
Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service went on to say the situation created by the Elephant Hill fire is the most concerning in the province right now.
…”on this fire right now, we’ve got 441 firefighters, an incident management team, 102 structural protection personnel from the office of the Fire Commissioner, 86 support staff, 21 helicopters and over 100 pieces of heavy equipment.”
The Elephant Hill fire grew to 110-thousand hectares Saturday.
Calling it an ‘absolute monster’ Skrepnek says the region’s terrain has made it hard for crews to access the fire.
Then there’s the wind.
“The area is right at the mouth of the Thompson River Canyon so it’s almost a nature-made wind tunnel,” said Skrepnek. “Those winds flow up and blow generally south to north and now the fire is covering such a wide area that a shift in winds reflect an immediate change in the fires and the way it’s growing.”
Skrepnek says the Elephant Hill fire currently has three active sides including the western flank towards Clinton and Highway 99, the south-west flank towards the Skeetchestn Reserve and a north-east and north-west flank, making it extremely difficult to fight.
“The core of the fire hasn’t been active in quite some time,” added Skrepnek. “It’s those three flanks that are finding more trees to burn and where the wind is whipping it up.”
Skrepknek warns provincially that the situation will be “getting worse before it gets better.”
There are currently 125 wildfires burning across the province, as of Saturday afternoon.
The number of fires is a staggering 884 since April 1st. and the cost of fighting these fires is estimated at $219.6 million.
Officials say two fires in the Columbia Shuswap have grown, prompting new evacuation alerts in the Galena Bay and Heather Lodge areas.
Poor air quality persists throughout the southern half of British Columbia as tinder-dry conditions continue to fuel wildfires.
Also part of yesterday’s press release Dr. Bonnie Henry, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, reaffirmed our previous reports that there has been a recent spike in emergency calls and hospital visits.
These are from people suffering from respiratory and other conditions related to the smoke and heat and most noticeably in the Lower Mainland.
Henry said health authorities are reminding the public to take precautions such as exercising indoors to avoid health problems. It’s also essential to have a plan of action with all necessary medications on hand should an asthma attack take place, or any sudden shortness of breath issues..
People with medical conditions, infants and the elderly are encouraged to stay indoors, ideally in air-conditioned environments.