B.C. wildfires could become ‘violently aggresive’ due to wind

The Hanceville complex fire is of most concern, burning near Williams Lake and 40,000 hectares big

With 161 wildfires burning across the central and southern Interior, the forecasted winds have residents in Williams Lake and north of Ashcroft preparing for the potential of having to evacuate.

“The wind event is gonna be upon us very shortly,” said Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for B.C. Wildfire Service. “The amplitude of it, the severity of it and the timing and is still very much in the air right now. It’s going to happen we just have to keep a close eye on how it unfolds.”

When those winds do arrive – moving at speeds up to 70 kilometres per hour – the fires could become quite wild in nature, Skrepnek said.

“We’re expecting very extreme and violently aggressive fire behaviour.”

RELATED: Crews battling 22 wildfires of note, 14 classified as interface fires

Three new evacuation orders and three new evacuation alerts have been issued in the last 24 hours, including an order in Loon Lake and an alert for the Village of Clinton, due to to the Ashcroft Reserve fire moving north.

The Ashcroft fire saw “explosive growth yesterday evening,” Skrepnek said.

An estimated 17,400 evacuees have been forced from their homes, with a bit more than 80 per cent of households receiving their funds through the Canadian Red Cross.

As the wind picks up in Williams Lake, the fire of most concern remains the Hanceville/Chilcotin complex fire – a group of smaller fires burning at an estimated 40,000 hectares in size. The Wildwood fire, burning at 2,500 hectares just north of the city is currently 40 per cent contained, Skrepnek said.

But as residents within the city limits await to be told to flee, others have been awaiting to get back into their city through Highway 97 to prepare for the potential of an evacuation. That highway remains closed southbound, between Kersley and Williams Lake.

RELATED: How to prepare for an evacuation

Because of the evacuation alert, the southbound route opening is unlikely, said Mike Lorimer, a regional director at the Transportation Ministry.

“If we do get into a situation where an evacuation order is required, we certainly would not be encouraging folks to head south on that route,” he said, “but there is a procedure right now to come south from that point through the emergency operation centre through Williams Lake.”

The Cariboo Regional District has been contacted for confirmation.

As of 2 p.m. July 15, wildfires of note sit at:

Ashcroft Reserve– 14,700 ha

Princeton – 3,300 ha, 35 per cent contained

Gustafsen – 5,000 ha, 20 per cent contained

Wildwood – 2,500 ha, 40 per cent contained

Chilcotin complex (multiple fires) – 40,000 ha

Little Fort east – 1,400 ha, 20 per cent contained

Little Fort west – 450 ha, 40 per cent contained

Just Posted

Christmas comes early to the Salvation Army in Williams Lake

City Furniture has donated all the food for the Salvation Army Christmas Dinner

Williams Lake rallies to help with dog’s surgery costs

Dobby, 6, needs perineal hernia surgery, owner cannot afford the vet bill

Interior First Nations announce emergency Mountain Caribou hunting ban in West Chilcotin

Tsilhqot’in and Ulkatcho leaders say the ban is for First Nations and non-First Nations alike

Dream comes true for McLeese Lake fire department

The acquisition of a parcel of land will enable the construction of a fire hall

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

Most Read