What you need to know about B.C. wildfires for Aug. 15
Fire officials say the next 72 hours could be critical in spreading the flames
The latest evacuation orders and alerts:
- Gusty winds prompted new evacuation orders and alerts Sunday evening.
- The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has advised drivers that some highways may be closed due to wildfire activity. Non-essential travel in affected areas is being discouraged.
- An evacuation order has been issued for 656 properties in the vicinity of Lower Nicola due to the Lytton Creek Wildfire.
- Some West Kelowna properties near the Mt.Law wildfire are now under an evacuation order due to the fast wildfire, which is burning north of Highway 97C.
- The City of Armstrong issued an evacuation alert for the entire municipality as the White Rock Lake fire burned about 20 kilometres outside of town.
- The entire town of Merritt, four hours northeast of Vancouver, was also put on evacuation alert due to the Lytton Creek wildfire.
- The Okanagan Indian Band, near Vernon, issued an evacuation order for more than 80 properties Sunday afternoon.
- Spallumcheen Township upgraded an evacuation alert for dozens of properties to an evacuation order.
- The City of Kamloops issued an evacuation alert for more than 700 properties in Iron Mask, Pineview Valley, and Versatile Industrial Park Sunday night due to a risk from the Tremont Creek wildfire.
- An evacuation alert was issued Sunday for the Willow Creek Mine site in northeastern B.C. due to the Pine River wildfire.
- The Thompson-Nicola Regional District also issued an evacuation order for 12 properties near Bonaparte Lake in Electoral Area "O" because of the Sparks Lake wildfire.
- Early Sunday evening Highway 5 between Hope and Merritt, just a couple hours drive east of Vancouver, was closed due to wildfire activity in the area.
- For a full list of evacuation orders and alerts visit Emergency Information B.C.'s Twitter feed.
The B.C. Wildfire Service says gusty winds Sunday evening were fanning the flames of several wildfires near Kamloops, prompting several new evacuation orders and alerts.
On Sunday, the wildfire service said it was expecting current wildfires of note in B.C. to show "extreme fire behaviour" in the next 24 hours and high rates of spread.
"Now is the time to make sure your emergency plan is in place," the service said on Twitter.
Aggressive fire behaviour on the Tremont Creek Wildfire Sunday prompted an Evacuation Order in parts of Cherry creek and an Evacuation Alert for 734 properties west of Kamloops,
"We have had very significant winds out there today as the cold front was passing through so those winds have really driven some movement of that fire today," said Fire Information Officer Erin Bull.
On Saturday, fire information officer Erika Berg said the shift in temperatures is forecast to start on Sunday evening, possibly also bringing pyrocumulonimbus clouds in the southern region. These towering cloud formations can cause their own weather systems including an increase in lightning.
Berg said thunderstorms are most likely to be seen in northern British Columbia, including the Fort Nelson and Caribou fire centres, with a chance of lightning strikes which can potentially cause more wildfires.
The service says it has been conducting prescribed burns on some of the larger blazes such as the White Rock Lake, Tremont Creek and Flat Lake wildfires to prepare for a potential increase in lightning strikes.
B.C. currently has nearly 270 active wildfires and more than 6,700 square kilometres of land scorched by blazes.
- Climate change is a top federal election issue for B.C. voters, poll finds.
- Property insurers are updating their risk modelling as Canada braces for climate impacts.
- Some residents of Monte Lake, a small B.C. community devastated by the White Rock Lake fire, were able to view the damage first-hand as the district confirmed on Saturday that 28 residences and one business have been lost.
- Annual forest fires fed by climate change are dragging winemakers and scientists into a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek to find and eliminate offensive aromas in vintages caused by smoke taint.
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With files from Rachel Adams and the Canadian Press