Contributed photo from Facebook

Firefighters battle the biggest blaze in B.C. history

BC Wildfire Service says 19 fires burn together to create B.C.’s biggest wildfire

More than 400 firefighters are working to contain the largest wildfire in British Columbia’s history.

Kevin Skrepnek of the BC Wildfire Service said 19 fires merged in an area west of Quesnel in the Interior, creating a single fire estimated to be 4,674 square kilometres in size.

Co-ordinating a response has been a challenge because the fire measures more than 130 kilometres from one end to the other, he said, adding 25 helicopters and 73 pieces of heavy equipment are being used.

“There’s good progress being made out there, but just given the sheer scale of this fire, it is going to be active for some time to come,” Skrepnek said.

It’s been decades since British Columbia has seen a fire anywhere near this big, Skrepnek said. The previous record was 2,250 square kilometres, set in 1958 by a fire burning in the northeastern part of the province.

Residents of several small communities have been forced from their homes by the giant fire, but Skrepnek said it’s still about 60 kilometres away from the nearest cities of Williams Lake and Quesnel.

Emergency Management BC said Monday that 3,800 people throughout B.C. remain displaced by wildfires and 9,700 others are on evacuation alert.

Several evacuation orders northwest of Kamloops were downgraded to alerts over the weekend, allowing residents around Loon and Green lakes to return home. Members of the Skeetchestn Indian Band west of Kamloops were also cleared to return as of noon on Monday.

Officials at Cariboo-Chilcotin School District 27 said some schools will remain closed in September if they are located in areas where evacuation orders or alerts are in effect.

School buses will also not operate in areas that are under evacuation orders or alerts, the district said in a news release.

More than 1,060 fires have been sparked throughout B.C. since April 1, and about 10,000 square kilometres have been scorched by the flames.

There were 135 fires burning on Monday, including seven that started within a 24-hour period.

Crews fighting flames in the southern part of the province are getting some help from calm weather and seasonal temperatures, Skrepnek said, but there are indications conditions could change later this week as a cold front rolls through the region.

“We could potentially see these fires flare up if we get a relatively dry cold front with wind and potentially lightning, but it could also be bringing showers with it,” he said.

(The Canadian Press, CHNL)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cranbrook Knights of Columbus donate funds to seven local organizations

City Councillor Wayne Price (centre) presents a $400 cheque to Brian Clifford… Continue reading

CBT grant helps local disc golf club improve youth access to sport

The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has announced it will be distributing a… Continue reading

Battle of youth vs experience at 2020 BC Championships in Cranbrook

Rebecca Connop Price The 2020 BC Championships in Cranbrook next week could… Continue reading

It happened this week in 1913

Jan. 19 - 25: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

You’re never too old to be Green

Cranbrook Community Theatre made boosting the green footprint of the Studio/Stage Door a priority in 2019.

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

What’s On At The Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby Novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux describes his journey as… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant killed in California helicopter crash: reports

NBA star was reportedly in his private helicopter at the time of the crash

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

Most Read