There have been 954 wildfires in BC since April 1st, destroying more than 621,000 hectares.

Currently, there are 148 fires burning in BC, including 15 that started up on Wednesday. Most of these new ones were lightning-caused and located in the northeast and southeast parts of the province.

Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says there are now more than 3,700 staff and frontline firefighters battling these fires. Among them are 764 personnel from out of province and more than 1500 contractors from the BC forest industry.

Suppression efforts have topped $264 million.

Most of the province will continue to be hot and smoky Thursday and Friday, however, there’s a chance for thunderstorms in the Rockies and the west chunk of the Cariboo. Scattered showers across the province could begin Saturday night.

“At this point, not a huge potential but, of course, any lightning strike, in particular, a dry lightning strike, is going to be a concern for us given just how unprecedented hot and dry it’s been in many areas,” says Skrepnek.

Executive Director Engineering Services with the Minister of Transportation Ed Miska advises anyone driving in smoky areas to turn on their headlights.

“Not only can that improve their visibility in front of them but having the headlights turned on also ensures that the tail lights are on. Any other drivers approaching you from behind will be able to see your tail lights and make your vehicle more visible in the smoky conditions.”

The largest blaze in the province is still the Elephant Hill wildfire. It’s about 117,170 hectares and only 30% contained. Skprenek says the winds and current hot and dry conditions have caused very “aggressive fire behaviour.”

There are 427 fire fighters, an incident management team, 89 structural protection personnel, 86 support staff, 26 helicopters and 105 pieces of heavy equipment on that fire.