Oil, lumber companies mobilize to protect pipelines, mills from BC wildfires

Thursday, 13 Jul, 2017

On Tuesday, numerous almost 8,000 people told to evacuate in California over the past several days were allowed to return to their homes, particularly in northern California.

Mass evacuation expenses feature in most SGI home insurance policies but are still subject to deductibles. It was 55 percent contained.

In northern California, a wildfire swept through grassy foothills in the Sierra Nevada and destroyed at least 10 structures and threatened more than 750 homes.

The blaze has burned almost 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) of grass, injured four firefighters and destroyed at least 37 structures.

The fires have caused no deaths or injuries.

It was one of 14 large wildfires - fires of 300 acres or more - burning in California during early July.

In Colorado, crews were winding down the fight against a wildfire that temporarily forced hundreds of people to evacuate near the resort town of Breckenridge.

"Crown fires are the most devastating fires we see in television footage with walls of flame running through the tree tops and we just don't get that much of that here on the Island", says forest fire scientist Dan Peracis of the Pacific Forestry Centre in Saanich. The blaze has been contained, except for a portion that continues to burn in rugged, steep terrain.

A burned out auto sits next to a home that was destroyed by the Wall Fire on July 9, 2017 in Oroville, California.

Extremely low humidity and winds are helping to fuel the wildfires, not just in California but also Arizona.

According to BC Emergency Management deputy minister Robert Turner, there are now 14,365 evacuees across B.C. Several evacuation orders and alerts have been issued in the past few days; most notably in 100 Mile House and Williams Lake.

In Santa Barbara County along California's central coast, about 200 people were under evacuation orders because of the so-called Alamo Fire, named after a creek near where it started on Thursday, said Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kelly Hoover.

"Yesterday was a good day compared to what we've been seeing", said Skrepnek. Approximately 10 people have been arrested for breaking and entering into evacuated homes. Long-term patients at the Ashcroft Hospital were moved as a precaution.

The company says all of the mill's employees safely left the area, with no reported injuries, and the site was secure at the time of the evacuation.

Further north, a series of lightning strikes sparked several wildfires in the Cariboo Regional District.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said B.C. requested 3,000 cots and 3,000 blankets from federal stockpiles and they have been delivered to Prince George. In some areas, firefighters have been battling fires for a week, trying to keep them from spreading across roads and churning through dry vegetation near populated areas. "That creates faster moving fires, hotter fires, it carries fire much more readily".