Photo courtesy of BC Wildfire Service
There are 130 wildfires burning in BC, which brings the total number since April 1st to 904.
Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says these have destroyed about 578,000 hectares this fire season, a smaller number than Sunday’s estimate. He says the most recent number is more accurate thanks to better and clearer fires maps.
Suppression efforts have cost around $234 million. There are 3,800 people fighting these fires, including 700 from outside of BC and another 400 from Austalia, New Zealand, Mexico, and the United States joining the fight this week. There are also 221 air crafts helping out.
Despite all of this, Skrepnek says they need Mother Nature’s help.
“We have a lot of people out there doing everything they can to contain these fires to keep people out of harm’s way but that this is a natural disaster and, unfortunately, it’s going to be natural factors that can decide when a lot of these fires start to really calm down.”
When crews from places like Ontario and Alberta are done their tour, Skrepnek says they’ll immediately be replaced. While crew members are constantly coming and going, Skrepnek says there will steadily be anywhere between 700-1000 out of province workers fighting the fires.
Looking at the forecast, Skrepnek isn’t seeing any rain.
“Hot and dry conditions persisting. There’s a small potential for lightning in the southern part of the province with a higher likelihood for some lightning strikes along the Rockies.”
Toward the end of the week, he believes winds will change along the coast and push ocean air eastward into the province.
“That will ameliorate a lot of smoke concerns that have been occurring, particularly in the Lower Mainland, but it is likely also going to come with an increase in wind across the board. Of course, wind has been just such a huge challenge for us already.”
There are still 6,900 British Columbians on an evacuation order and about 26,700 on an evacuation alert.