The impact of windy weather was not as bad as BC fire officials had feared.
Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the BC Wildfire Service, says the wind was blowing on Friday, but “it did not cause the level of activity we were bracing for in terms of flaring up existing fires.”
“In most cases, the wind arrived, but wasn’t necessarily as strong as we had forecast, and in many cases, it did come with a little bit of rain, or cooler temperatures, and higher humidity. And that kept fire activity relatively in check,” Skrepnek told the daily media wildfire update.
The information officer says not enough rain fell “to put a dent” in the current situation as it remains dry, and Saturday is expected to be another windy day.
He says there is no change to the size of BC’s largest fire, Hanceville-Riske Creek, 60 km’s northwest of Williams Lake, which is still 218,000 hectares.
The Elephant Hill fire, west of Kamloops, also didn’t change in size at 168,000 hectares.
“I’m happy to report on Elephant Hill we are estimating a 25 percent containment number which given the size of this fire and the growth we had seen to this point, it’s defiantly an indicator of some progress,” stated Skrepnek.
There were 14 new fires on Friday.
“Those new fires were throughout the entire province, Prince George, Cariboo, Kamloops, and Southeast centres, so fairly widespread activity and many were lightning caused,” says Skrepnek.
Seven of the new fires were lightning caused, four are suspected to be human caused, with the rest undetermined.
None of the new fires is causing any major issues.
About 4,403 residents remain evacuated from their homes due to fires with 27 evacuation orders in place.
Another 20,756 are on evacuation alert.
There have been 1,049 fires since April 1, burning 944,000 hectares, which as reported earlier, is a new record for the province, breaking the old mark of 855,000 set in 1958.
The cost to fight fires this season is $337 million, with over 3,700 personnel currently working, including about 600 from out of province.
File photo from BC Wildfire Service