Tags: british columbia | wildfires | evacuation | blaze

British Columbia Wildfires Exacerbated by Whipping Winds

Image: British Columbia Wildfires Exacerbated by Whipping Winds
Smoke rises from a 7,000 hectare (17,000 acre) fire on the north side of Puntzi Lake, British Columbia, in a picture release by the BC Wildfire Service July 11, 2015. The area is subject to an evacuation order. (BC Wildfire Service/Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 23 Jul 2015 10:07 AM

Wildfires in British Columbia have expanded this week with 115 new blazes sparking in the southeast portion of the province between Monday and Tuesday.

Officials placed nine British Columbia communities under evacuation orders or alerts earlier this week, CBC News reported.

"Lightning was a huge driver of increased fire activity yesterday and that would be from the lightning activity we saw Sunday night," Ryan Turcot of the B.C. Wildfire Service told CBC News.

Duncan Robinson, who lives across the Okanagan Lake, said he saw the wildfire expand with help from the wind.

"As soon as you felt the wind gust, you would just see huge candling, trees just flaring up," he said. "I can't even guess how high those flames would have been in the air but definitely quite a show on this side."

The Globe and Mail reported that 1,300 wildfires have struck British Columbia so far in 2015, burning more than 295,000 hectares, exceeding the 10-year average for the same time period of 708 fires and 41,000 hectares.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark blamed climate change for the dramatic increase in wildfires, according to the Globe and Mail.

"I am mostly concerned that . . . the forest fire season won't give us a break and that we're going to see more homes threatened, more people's livelihoods threatened, more forest resources lost," Clark said Wednesday.

"Climate change has altered the terrain and it's made us much more vulnerable to fire. The earth is very dry and I think that we have to be planning with the knowledge that this isn't going to be an unusual year . . . these things are going to happen more often . . . we have to be more ready for that," she added.

The province's lead fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek told the Globe and Mail Wednesday that officials have identified 254 wildfires burning in British Columbia. Many of the new blazes have been started by lightning strikes, but roughly 40 percent have been manmade.

The Globe and Mail wrote that the government has started reviewing fines that can be imposed on those causing fires via campfires or discarded cigarette butts.

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Wildfires in British Columbia have expanded this week with 115 new blazes sparking in the southeast portion of the province between Monday and Tuesday.
british columbia, wildfires, evacuation, blaze
361
2015-07-23
Thursday, 23 Jul 2015 10:07 AM
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