A wildfire was sparked in Monte Lake next to Highway 97 Wednesday. (BC Wildfire Service image)

Wildfire fighting costs hit $154 million

14 new fires started on Wednesday

The cost of the province’s firefighting efforts have hit $154 million.

Fourteen new fires sparked on Wednesday, chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek told reporters on Thursday, for a total of 148 burning across B.C. currently. Since April 1, 794 wildfires have been burning across the province.

The newest major blaze started near Monte Lake, southeast of Kamloops, on Wednesday. Since then, rumours have swirled over whether a thrown cigarette may have caused it.

RELATED: Monte Lake wildfire 30 per cent contained

“It does appear that the fire started fairly close to Hwy. 97… but the investigation is ongoing,” said Skrepnek. The fire currently sits at 150 hectares.

“I think the speed and aggressiveness with which this fire displayed yesterday speaks to just how hot and dry conditions are out there… and how quickly these fires can grow.”

RELATED: Hikers fined for campfire in Cariboo

Skrepnek implored people to take precautions and fire-safe their homes.

“There’s a lot of practical things that people can do that don’t take a lot of time,” he said. “Moving woodpiles away from their houses, moving propane tanks away, spacing out trees, cleaning out gutters… basically moving any potential combustibles away from the house.”

Emergency Management BC deputy minister Robert Turner warned evacuees returning to Williams Lake to be careful. Part of the evacuation order for the area was downgraded to an evacuation alert earlier Thursday, and residents were allowed to go back home nearly two weeks after being forced out.

“We would encourage people to be looking at the maps to ensure that their specific area has changed from an order status to an alert status before they would be making a decision to return,” said Turner. “For those who do return, there will be a resilience centre set up in Williams Lake tomorrow.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The more things change, the more they stay the same following federal election

The way people voted this year shows how diverse our opinions on politics really are

VIDEO: Tsilhqot’in Nation celebrates new solar farm west of Williams Lake

Tsilhqot’in Solar Farm is 100 per cent owned and operated by the nation

Election 2019: Calogheros feeling excited early on election night

Liberal candidate Tracy Calogheros says she has really enjoyed the campaign

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

Most Read