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)

Just Posted

Hwy. 97 reopened after Trout Creek collision

No details on injuries or cause yet

Souper Sunday raises Soupateria profile

The competition pits local chefs against each other to make soup for the those in need.

Supporting survivors of breast cancer

Survivorship shows there is life beyond cancer

Foreigner feeling like the first time after 40

Foreigner doesn’t miss a beat after 40 years

Octoberfest is the toast of the town

Eighth annual night of fun, music and brews

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Reel Reviews: Nothing left to lose

We say, “Grieving Quan kicks butt”

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Most Read