Contributed photo from Facebook

Firefighters battle the biggest blaze in B.C. history

BC Wildfire Service says 19 fires burn together to create B.C.’s biggest wildfire

More than 400 firefighters are working to contain the largest wildfire in British Columbia’s history.

Kevin Skrepnek of the BC Wildfire Service said 19 fires merged in an area west of Quesnel in the Interior, creating a single fire estimated to be 4,674 square kilometres in size.

Co-ordinating a response has been a challenge because the fire measures more than 130 kilometres from one end to the other, he said, adding 25 helicopters and 73 pieces of heavy equipment are being used.

“There’s good progress being made out there, but just given the sheer scale of this fire, it is going to be active for some time to come,” Skrepnek said.

It’s been decades since British Columbia has seen a fire anywhere near this big, Skrepnek said. The previous record was 2,250 square kilometres, set in 1958 by a fire burning in the northeastern part of the province.

Residents of several small communities have been forced from their homes by the giant fire, but Skrepnek said it’s still about 60 kilometres away from the nearest cities of Williams Lake and Quesnel.

Emergency Management BC said Monday that 3,800 people throughout B.C. remain displaced by wildfires and 9,700 others are on evacuation alert.

Several evacuation orders northwest of Kamloops were downgraded to alerts over the weekend, allowing residents around Loon and Green lakes to return home. Members of the Skeetchestn Indian Band west of Kamloops were also cleared to return as of noon on Monday.

Officials at Cariboo-Chilcotin School District 27 said some schools will remain closed in September if they are located in areas where evacuation orders or alerts are in effect.

School buses will also not operate in areas that are under evacuation orders or alerts, the district said in a news release.

More than 1,060 fires have been sparked throughout B.C. since April 1, and about 10,000 square kilometres have been scorched by the flames.

There were 135 fires burning on Monday, including seven that started within a 24-hour period.

Crews fighting flames in the southern part of the province are getting some help from calm weather and seasonal temperatures, Skrepnek said, but there are indications conditions could change later this week as a cold front rolls through the region.

“We could potentially see these fires flare up if we get a relatively dry cold front with wind and potentially lightning, but it could also be bringing showers with it,” he said.

(The Canadian Press, CHNL)

Just Posted

VIDEO: Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP files ‘historic appeal’ to save proposed legislation

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson filed a “historic appeal” on Thursday to have… Continue reading

Chemainus Secondary’s Janet Ruest receives excellence award from Governor General

Chemainus Secondary School teacher Janet Ruest was recognized in Ottawa on Wednesday.

VIU nursing students conduct survey on Ladysmith early years programming

Fourth year nursing students at Vancouver Island University have teamed up with… Continue reading

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP seeks secret ballot to save abandoned vessels bill

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson is seeking a secret ballot to save her private member’s bill.

Founder Smith’s vision will live on through the Chemainus Theatre Festival

Death of Ken Smith brings much reflection from a grateful community

UPDATE: More searchers out looking for missing senior near Nanaimo

Search and rescue personnel from all over the Island are looking for 73-year-old Faye Hanson

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

15 arrested as Duncan police raid yields drugs, stolen property

Arrests made, drugs and stolen property seized

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

Mounties dismantle counterfeiters ring with raid in Maple Bay Thursday

Counterfeiting paraphernalia found along with firearms, stolen property as police swept in Nov. 23

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

RCMP searching for missing Cowichan Bay boater, Daniel Borthwick

His Zodiac has been found but he has not, so far.

Most Read