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HomeNews14,000 British Columbians believed to have been asked to evacuate due to...

14,000 British Columbians believed to have been asked to evacuate due to wildfires

The BC Wildfire Service says there are now 218 fires burning across BC and 29 of them started yesterday.

That’s actually a significant decrease in the number of new fires that have been cropping up. BC Wildfire’s Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says this is due to a decrease in lightning strikes.

Skrepnek also provided an update on the status of several fires in the Cariboo and northern interior.

“We’ve got a complex fires which means it’s kind of a group of fires burning fairly close to each other near Williams Lake. They were previously the 150 Mile House fire and the Wildwood fire. They have not joined together but they’re burning in a closed area and we’re going to be treating them as one instance going forward.”

Combined, those fires are covering an area estimated to be about 10,000 hectares.

In the Prince George Fire Centre, three fires have prompted evacuation alerts in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako.

The Sutherland Road fire is about 700 hectares as of today, the Grizzly Lake Fire is thought to be about 250 hectares and the Tatuk or Finger Lake Fire, south of Vanderhoof, is estimated at 950 hectares.

Near Quesnel, the Dragon Mountain fire is about 1,500 hectares at last update.

Emergency Management BC estimates that up to 14,000 people have been evacuated so far. Many have been sent to Kamloops, others are being directed north to Prince George.

Emergency BC’s Deputy Minister Bob Turner says the situation in the province is still deteriorating. However, he says multiple agencies are working together to manage the situation. Turner says that emergency aid packages for displaced families are being organized but there are no details as of yet. 

About 300 first responders – many from Alberta and Ontario, with some from New Brunswick and Saskatchewan – are expected to arrive in Prince George and Kamloops today.

Since April 1, 572 fires have burned more than 40,000 hectares across BC. Most of that in the last week.

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