Wind and heavy smoke is working as a double-edged sword in the human-caused wildfire burning near Harrison Hot Springs.
Fire Information Officer Donna MacPherson.
“Everything seems to come with good news, [and] bad news. The smoke limits our ability to use aircraft, but it also holds the fire down a little bit. It shades the fire and keeps the temperature down a bit.”
However, there is some positive news to take away—MacPherson says wind gusts which were forecasted for Tuesday never materialized and kept the fire from spreading rapidly.
The Martin Mars water bomber and other air tankers remain grounded due to heavy smoke in the area of the human-caused blaze, which has now burned through 600 hectares.
MacPherson says the smog is drifting north but is hampering the ability to attack the fire from the air.
“The crews just haven’t asked for them because unless the air tankers can see the ground clearly, they can’t drop well. What work they’ve been doing they’ve been using helicopters and crews.”
MacPherson adds some light winds are expected overnight, which can help clear some of that smoke, but also increases the risk of fanning the flames.
BC’s Forest Minister says there are people who still aren’t getting the message about being extra cautious while as the wildfire remains high.
Steve Thomson says with more fires being started by people – including the growing blaze near Harrison, people need to give their heads a shake.
“One human caused fire remains one too many and this continues to be a source of significant frustration to our wildfire service and to the province and to our ministry.”
Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says the cost of fighting fires this season is now 174-million dollars.
With continued warm, dry weather he says they expect more blazes to start.
Months – and millions of dollars into this wildfire season BC’s Forests minister is frustrated too many people are being careless and causing fires.
With 36 of the current 140 fires burning in the province caused by humans, Thomson says it is clear people aren’t getting the message about taking extra precautions to prevent fires.
“Any time we have to divert resources to fighting human caused fires takes away from the ability to deal with the lightening caused ones which we can’t control”
Thomson says while he has requested MLA Mike Morris look at increasing penalties for starting fires – we won’t see any changes until next year.
The cost so far this season is now at 174 million dollars – with 282,000 hectares burned.
Photos Courtesy of Global News