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Wildfire update as of Aug. 1, 2017

The CRD and the BC Wildfire Service provided an update Monday evening on how efforts are going.
The Wildwood fire northeast of Williams Lake is one of the many fires burning in the Williams Lake area. (Angie Mindus photo)

As crews continue to battle multiple wildfires in the Cariboo Chilcotin, the Cariboo Regional District and the BC Wildfire Service’s Mike McCauley provided an update Monday evening on how efforts are going.

“[Monday] 63 wildfires were burning in the Cariboo Fire Centre,” McCauley said. “Since April 1 there have been 214 fire starts which have burned an estimated 325,000 hectares within the CFC area.”

Most fires are rated at a high to extreme fire danger rating.

“Provincially, costs to date since April 1 have been an estimated $172.5 million,” he said. “Fire priorities, of course, are on our first responders and the safety of the public of B.C. … We don’t forsee favourable weather for the next few days and conditions will remain dry and no precipitation is in the near forecast.”

The Wildwood Fire, east of Williams Lake from the 150 Mile area to the Wildwood area is currently estimated at 12,987 hectares.

One-hundred-ninety-seven firefighters and 45 pieces of heavy equipment are currently being deployed on the blaze.

In the Chezacut wildfire region, as of Aug. 1, the fire is estimated to burning at 12,000 ha.

The BC Wildfire Service says progress has been made along the southern and western containment of the fire by strengthening guards and conducting localized burn out operations, but noted no structures or grazing meadows are under immediate threat.

The Hanceville/Riske Creek fire, the largest in the Cariboo Chilcotin, is burning at an estimated 134,000 ha.

“Winds continue to be a challenge and our burning period has been very active,” McCauley said, noting he expects these conditions to continue throughout the week. “We’re seeing more smoke and more intense fire behaviour.”

The Kleena Kleene wildfire, south of Highway 20, roughly 200 kilometres west of Williams Lake, is also still active and burning at an estimated 5,300 ha.

An evacuation order is in effect for some areas while 72 firefighters, eight helicopters and 10 heavy equipment units work on containment.

As of Monday afternoon, July 31, the Soda Creek Fire was estimated at 251 ha. while an evacuation order is in effect.

The fire near Spokin Lake, estimated at 3,731 ha., 20 km east of Williams Lake, is continued to be worked on as crews are extinguishing hot spots and also working to enlarge the fire guard width while ensuring protection of life, property and community infrastructure. A crew of 477 firefighters, 16 helicopters, and 133 pieces of heavy equipment are working on battling the fire.

Closer to Williams Lake, the White Lake fire, just northwest of the lakecity, is estimated to be burning at 13,128 ha.

“It is important to stay away from areas where fire suppression activities are occurring to avoid causing unnecessary delays to ongoing operations,” said Noelle Kekula, fire information officer. “Safe firefighting operations are dependant on good communications on the ground and in the air. If you are in an area where crews, equipment and helicopters are working and not in communication with air and ground crews the operations are no longer safe and my need to be stopped.”

In summary, he said fire activity continues to increase within the CFC area.

“The weather forecast is continued for hot, dry weather,” he said. “Growth is expected to occur on all the fires, including those which haven’t in the past few days.”

For all current evacuation orders and alerts, go here.

Greg Sabatino

About the Author: Greg Sabatino

Greg Sabatino graduated from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops with a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 2008.
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