B.C. government prepares for wildfire season with fires expected to increase severity and frequency
FORT ST. JOHN -- The B.C. government held a press conference today around 2 p.m. to discuss the province’s current and future wildfire season.
Minister of Emergency Management Bowinn Ma explained that residents should look at group lodging, friends or family for housing in case of a large-scale evacuation. She says that there may be limited spots at hotels and motels due to the increase in travellers after the pandemic.
Ma also blamed the increasing number of climate-related emergencies on climate change. The current season came with an early start. It is projected to experience more severe and frequent wildfires.
To prepare for the climate emergency, the province has hired a hundred new B.C. Wildfire staff as well as doubled the annual funding for wildfire prevention and predictive programs.
Cliff Chapman, director of operation for the wildfire service, says much of their resources are in the northeast. There is currently over a thousand staff on the northeast wildfires.
In the northeast, the Donnie Creek wildfire has grown to a size larger than the entire lower mainland, B.C. Wildfire says it will continue to grow beyond its perimeter.
The wildfire is still burning out of control at 310,805 hectares, growing another 45,000 hectares overnight.
The West Kaskatinaw River wildfire has grown from nearly 4,000 hectares to an estimated 15,000. This has prompted Evacuation Orders for the District of Tumbler Ridge and parts of the PRRD.
Out of the 83 active fires in B.C., there are 52 active wildfires across northeast B.C.
Wildfire employees are slowly shifting toward other fires across the province as more appear across the Coastal and Cariboo regions.
Residents can pre-register with emergency support services online ahead of any emergencies.