Cooler — wet weather has arrived — but it’s been a mixed blessing for crews fighting BC’s wildfires.
There are now 243 blazes burning in B-C — 67 of them new since yesterday.
Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek:
“We saw a huge uptick in the number of fire starts yesterday. And that has to do with a shift in the weather. We are seeing cooler conditions, rain in many areas. But that did bring with it quite a bit of lightning.”
The fire situation in several regions has also worsened.
The Puntzi Lake fire doubled in size overnight to more than 22 square kilometers. It’s also the first fire to destroy homes.
And in the Kootenays — a wildfire south of Silverton has prompted a new evacuation alert for several dozen residents along highway six.
Meanwhile, the iconic Martin Mars water bomber could see action as early as today — as BC’s fire season reaches a critical point.
Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says the plane — which has a payload of about 27-thousand litres — is ready to go.
“It’s my understanding that it’s going to be operationally ready at some point today. So at that point it’s just going to be a matter of if we have a target for it. It’s going to be treated the same as the rest of our tanker fleet”
The province stopped using the mars in 2013 over concerns about its cost and versatility.
That changed this week — after public pressure grew into a 21-thousand signature petition to bring the bomber back.
The Mars has now been re-signed to a one month contract.
Owner Wayne Coulson says poor weather and low visibility is hampering its ability to fly today.
Photo credit Ashley Shaw