Evacuation orders issued in many communities, $100 million relief fund set up.
CBC reports: Wide swaths of forests in British Columbia’s Interior are burning after a lightning storm Friday afternoon ignited brush parched from weeks of relentless hot, dry weather.
The Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast regions of the province have been under extreme fire danger for the past two weeks and hot, dry conditions — including temperatures up to 39C — led to a highly combustible environment.
With Friday’s lightning storm, fires quickly spread rapidly, worsened by strong gusts.
Evacuation orders were issued to multiple communities and the province declared a state of emergency.
Outgoing Premier Christy Clark announced a $100 million relief fund for affected communities.
Kevin Skrepnek, B.C.’s chief wildfire information officer, said over 140 fires started on Friday and nearly 100 more on Saturday, followed by a few dozen on Sunday.
He said 220 active fires are burning across the province.
Over 14,000 evacuees
Skrepnek says firefighters are focusing their efforts on a dozen major fires near larger communities, some of which have been evacuated.
So far, the province estimates 14,000 people have been displaced.
“We’re focused on protecting critical infrastructure, protecting communities and quite importantly, keeping our highway routes open. Given the movement of people and given the evacuations, we want to make sure those access routes are available so people can get out if they need to,” he said.Read More