‘Aggressive’ wildfire shuts B.C. highway as military and officials set to meet
July 18, 2023 By The Canadian Press
The BC Wildfire Service says an “aggressive” fire that exploded in size over the weekend has cut off a highway on the central coast, while more than a dozen new blazes have been sparked since Sunday.
The service says Highway 20 east of Bella Coola was closed Sunday evening as the fire that was discovered near Young Creek just the day before swelled to 22-square kilometres in size.
The service says no evacuation orders have been issued for the fire, which is among more than 360 burning in the province, with 23 listed by the wildfire service as fires of note.
A working group comprised of members of Public Safety Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, and B.C. emergency management and wildfire officials are set to meet today to discuss the province’s volatile wildfire situation.
A weekend statement from the Ministry of Emergency Management says the meeting will focus on plans for deploying federal resources after the province requested help in the fire fight.
It says two military reconnaissance teams were deployed Sunday, with a “land force team” arriving at the ministry’s emergency operations centre in Prince George and an air force team bound for the BC Wildfire co-ordination centre in Kamloops.
The ministry says the teams are conducting assessments that will inform deployment plans for additional federal resources to come.
The Thomson-Nicola Regional District says the Bush Creek East fire near Kamloops is “highly visible,” but no evacuation orders or alerts have been issued even as gusty winds have fanned wildfires around the city.
Environment Canada’s forecast for Kamloops says there’s a chance of rain and a risk of thunderstorms this afternoon, with many regions in the province under cloudy skies with possible rain on the way, breaking a weeks-long drought.
Metro Vancouver’s cloudy skies Monday brought light rain, though drought conditions continue across much of B.C.
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