It was a busy and concerning weekend for firefighters battling blazes around B.C.
There are currently 307 active fires burning in the province with 36 of those sparked in the last two days.
There are now 25 wildfires of note, which means they are highly visible or pose a threat to public safety.
The majority of the fires are burning in the Kamloops Fire Centre, which includes the biggest fire in the province right now — the Sparks Lake fire at 40,267 hectares in size.
The Thomas Creek fire, burning 1.5 kilometres east of Skaha Lake, remains a concern for crews Monday.
The fire exploded in size to 500 hectares on Sunday, prompting the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to issue an evacuation order for 77 properties and an evacuation alert for 600 properties in the area south of Penticton.
Video of wildfire near Okanagan Falls, B.C.
All evacuees are asked to register online with the Emergency Support Services (ESS) Evacuee Registration & Assistance (ERA) tool, even if they do not require referrals such as housing or other services.
No structures have been lost to the fire, Okanagan Falls fire Chief Fred Dobransky said Monday morning, and the winds are pushing the blaze away from the town.
However, Regional District CAO Bill Newell said the fire is still volatile and out of control. The fire service has recommenced aerial attacks and ground crews working to establish fireguards. He is urging people to stay away from the area.
Roads in the area are closed and boats are asked to stay off Skaha Lake.
Evacuees to the east are being urged to stay with family and friends due to a hotel shortage in the region.
The Embleton fire near Sun Peaks has grown to 290 hectares as of Monday morning.
On Sunday, 132 addresses in the Whitecroft community near Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality were evacuated due to the fire. The resort community of Sun Peaks was also placed under an evacuation alert and visitors were asked to stay away.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation alert for 156 addresses Sunday for residents of nearby Heffley Lake.
BC Wildfire Service information officer Noelle Kekula said Sunday that crews battling a wildfire near the Okanagan community of Vernon had to deal with drones in the area on Saturday, forcing them to shut down operations for two hours.
“I know everyone’s curious and everyone has drones, but it’s illegal to operate a drone in and around a wildfire,” she said.
Video captures wildfire burning east of Vernon
Right now there are 101 fires burning in the Kamloops area, 72 in the Cariboo, 63 in the Southeast, 58 in the Prince George area, seven in the Coastal centre and six in the Northwest.
The majority of the fires are believed to have been caused by lighting, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service, but some are suspected to be human-caused.
An investigation is still underway into the cause of the devastating fire that destroyed 90 per cent of the village of Lytton on June 30.
Many residents have spoken out, saying they suspect it was sparked by a train braking in the area.
That has not been confirmed by any authorities but on Sunday, Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced fire suppression efforts must be incorporated into business operations for Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways in the region until Oct. 31. CN and CP must respond within 60 minutes to any fires detected along rail lines running through Lytton, with the goal of extinguishing or controlling the blaze and asking the local fire service for help if necessary.
Rail restrictions implemented by Ottawa amid B.C. wildfires
Residents and evacuees in parts of B.C. are being warned Monday about another heat wave that will last until Wednesday.
Environment Canada says while this heat wave is expected to be less aggressive than the previous historical heat wave, temperatures are still expected to reach between 35 and 38 C during the day and around 18 C overnight.
The areas affected by this warning include:
- 100 Mile
- Fraser Canyon
- North Thompson
- Okanagan Valley
- South Thompson
B.C. evening weather forecast: July 11
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