Photo: Message sent to BC Wildfire Service from residents of Monte Lake west of Vernon after two recent fires in their area (BC Wildfire Service)
BC fire officials say the public is taking the danger of fires seriously.
Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, says that’s one reason why the number of new fires is not growing substantially.
“The fact that we have conditions as hot, dry and as volatile as they are now, and we are only getting about 6 new fires — and it’s been in that range the last few days — I think that speaks to the fact that people are taking the threat of human caused fires seriously,” Skrepnek told the daily fire update.
There are 127 fires burning in BC today, including six new fires on Saturday.
Skrepnek says most people have been adhering to the rules, like no campfires, and he thinks most will follow the off-road recreational vehicle ban that took effect this weekend.
There have been 892 fires since April 1, burning 591,000 hectares, second most all time in BC.
“To put that number into some context, that is now larger that the entire province of Prince Edward Island that has burned so far in British Columbia. Our estimated cost to fight the wildfires since April 1 is $230 million,” says Skrepnek.
Thirty-eight hundred personnel are working on the fires including 636 from out of province and 216 aircraft.
The weather is expected to remain hot and dry for the next week with the potential for lightning in the southern half of the province the next few days.
There is a possible cooling trend by next week.
“This would be in the area of Aug 13 and 14, which is still far away, so we’re keeping an eye on that in terms of possible relief, but until then, we’re expecting and preparing for continued hot, dry and challenging conditions,” says Skrepnek.
The Elephant Hill fire between Cache Creek and Clinton in the Cariboo remains the main fire of note, now 110,000 hectares and still 30% contained.
CBC News says a group of residents near Clinton has issued a news release, saying they want an apology and compensation from the BC government for a controlled burn that got out of hand last week, and led to loss of livestock and property.
Skrepnek was not aware of that news release as of Sunday’s news conference.
About 6,900 people remain on evacuation order, with another 26,600 on evacuation alert.
There are 32 evacuation orders in place with 43 evacuation alerts.