It’s only April and yet wildfires are already raging with 49 new wildfires in one day.
There are hundreds of homes under an evacuation order, and smoke continues to blanket much of Northeastern B.C.
For the latest update on forest fires in the province, go to BC Wildfire Service.
BC’s Forestry minister remains hopeful this year’s fire season won’t be a long one.
Minister Steve Thomson says rain expected later this week may yet dampen the 49 wildfires that began just yesterday in near 30 degree temperatures and winds of 90 kilometres an hour.
And that’s not including the efforts of around 1400 firefighters and their support staff.
“We can also call on contractors, 1600 contractors a multitude of contingency resources including those from other provinces with out mutual sharing arrangements.”
Thomson says despite the early start for the fires this year, crews were ready.
Meanwhile, Chief Fire Information Office Kevin Skrepnek says it is a concern for him the fire-fighting season has begun early this year.
“Whenever the season starts like this and wit the significant amount of activity we had particularly last night as the information started to come in, to me it does give you that little turn in your stomach.”
“But again it’s important to point out that this is not necessarily indicative of the total season.”
Skrepnek says of the 90 fires currently burning in the province, a majority are human caused.
“We’ve had 128 fires to date since April 1st this year, and only a few of those were lightning caused. Given this unusually high level of activity that we’re having right now, we just want to make sure that people are using all due precaution in the back country given how dry it is”
Last year, wildfires scorched two hundred eighty thousand hectares of forests, and cost the province an estimated $373 million.
The Peace River Regional District declared a state of local emergency last night, just hours after winds gusting to 80 kilometres an hour brought down power lines.
Meanwhile, a 30 square kilometer wildfire burning near Beatton Airport Road in the Peace region has damaged a 138,000-volt BC Hydro transmission line.
That caused a massive a power outage to about 2,800 customers north of Fort St. John in the communities of Prespatou, Milligan Creek, Charlie Lake, Montney and Upper Halfway.