Wildfires expanding by the moment in B.C.
Wildfires are expanding at a rapid pace in B.C.
In the span of a few minutes that journalists spoke on the phone with B.C. Wildfire Service Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek today, the number of fires had to be bumped up from 201 to 202.
Nineteen of those fires are considered “major incidents,” which means that they could potentially have an impact on communities or infrastructure.
Speaking from Kamloops, Skrepnek said that his office is keeping real-time information about the fires that have already burned over 253,000 hectares across the province.
To keep the numbers current, the Wildfire Service is counting on 2,300 staff members and contractors working across the province, with 50 additional fire management specialists coming from Australia next week.
Since April, the province has spent $100 million dollars fighting fires.
Skrepnek noted that the fire activity this year has almost doubled compared to 2014 and to the 10-year average. As a result, the campfire ban in place since June 27 will remain in effect and be extended to include Vancouver Island.
Despite the fact that cooler temperatures and showers are expected for the weekend and the beginning of next week, Skrepnek said that the unstable weather could also bring unpredictable winds and lighting, which could worsen the fire situation.
In terms of the air quality, the provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall said that the air quality improved, in particular in Metro Vancouver. Although the air quality advisory will remain, he said that people can go back to their normal routines, with the exception of patients suffering from asthma or heart disease.
Dr. Kendall warned that the air quality situation in the Comox Valley has not improved due to the Dog Mountain wildfire on Sproat Lake.