BY BILL PHILLIPS
This is now the worst fire season in the history of the province.
The B.C. Wildfire Service puts the number of hectares burned since April 1 at 894,491 hectares. B.C. fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek says the increased estimate today reflects a better estimation of size rather than increased fire activity.
However, he said, there are 149 fires burning with nine new fires Tuesday.
Previously, the worst fire season was in 1958, when had 855,000 hectares burned.
He said the cost of fighting the fires has now reached $315 million. There are 3,900 personnel working on the fires right now, including 756 out-of-province firefighters and nearly 1,500 contractors.
Skrepnek said it looks like firefighters are heading into yet another challenging weekend. A cold front with lower temperatures is in the forecast, but it will bring gusty winds and thunderstorms with lightning.
“We’re looking at this being a sustained situation,” he said. “Be careful of any activity that could spark a wildfire.”
Currently there are 28 evacuation orders in place, affecting 6,000 people, and 40 evacuation alerts, affecting 22,000 on evacuation alert. Williams Lake has lifted its evacuation alert.