In the past week, more than 16,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to a spate of wildfires in British Columbia – and many more remain on evacuation alert.
BC’s Cariboo regional district has been the hardest hit, with 10,000 people under evacuation orders and a further 10,750 under evacuation alert, according to CBC reports.
It is likely those evacuation alerts will remain in place for weeks due to a lack of rain forecast for central parts of the province.
Al Richmond, chair of the Cariboo Regional District, said: “Because of the issues with dryness in the forest, the weather, there’s no significant precipitation projected in seven to 10 days ... we have a really dry forest that we’re going to have to live with all summer.”
The concern now lies with the wind and whether strong gusts could spread wildfires to new parts of the province over the weekend.
“Definitely toward the weekend some cold fronts are coming in and bringing some stronger wind patterns,” said Darron Campbell, director of the Emergency Operations Centre for the Cariboo Regional District. “Most of those weather patterns seem to be in the western part of the region, over in the Chilcotin and the north Cariboo, in areas that have not seen a lot of activity to date. We might be dealing with some new situations in some new areas.”
The whole of BC remains under a state of emergency issued by the provincial government last week. Environment Canada has also issued air quality advisories in large central areas of the province.
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