Western Canada wildfires prompt state of emergency and evacuations

Tuesday, 11 Jul, 2017

Firefighters in the air and on land prepared Sunday for another grueling battle with wildfires that have ravaged the westernmost Canadian province of British Columbia (B.C.).

The lack of air combined with record-high temperatures, humidity levels comparable to those you see in a desert, and wind gusts mean flawless conditions for wildfires, says Phillips.

Fire departments believe that the fire was triggered by human activity.

Contract firefighters from the forest industry are being brought in to help with the fire effort, and the BC Wildfire Service is looking at bringing in crews from other jurisdictions.

Coastal Fire now has the wildfire 25 per cent contained. And because the fires are spread out all over the place, emergency services are having a hard time mobilizing in any one area, adding to the inability to gain control of the fires. "With these early starts to the fire season, it also means they're often longer and makes us susceptible, particularly as those droughts build in top late July and early August".

Almost 2,000 firefighters battled the blazes, but their efforts were hampered by dry and hot conditions in recent weeks that provided the ideal incubator for the outbreak, and they continue to feed them.

"Dangerous and potentially life-threatening heat is expected through (today), when high temperatures between 100 and 110 degrees are expected for many interior sections of southwest California", the National Weather Service said in a statement. "Members of the public are asked to be extremely careful with anything that could create a spark, whether equipment, matches, firearms or other items".

A provincewide state of emergency was declared Friday after about 140 new fires ignited and crews grappled with intense winds.

Watch the video below for a full recap of the live information meeting for evacuees.

Due to the extreme fire conditions in and around Williams Lake, all backyard campfires within the city's boundaries are being prohibited as of Friday, July 7 until further note. No deaths have been reported.

According to reports, Justine Hunse of the B.C. Wildfire Service said the fire threatening Cache Creek had burned an estimated 2 miles between Cache Creek and Ashcroft after exploding through Friday from a small fire just north of Ashcroft.

About 180 wildfires continue to blaze across the province, as hundreds of kilometers of dry forests and prairies burn, disrupting logging and ranching industries all over Western Canada, as reported by Reuters.