Wild­fires could smoul­der un­til next spring, says of­fi­cial

Truro Daily News - - CANADA -

A mu­nic­i­pal leader in Bri­tish Columbia’s cen­tral In­te­rior says he wouldn’t be sur­prised if wild­fires that have chewed through more than 10,600 square kilo­me­tres of wood­land won’t be fully out un­til 2018.

Chair­man Al Rich­mond of the Cari­boo Re­gional District said hot spots from many of the largest fires likely won’t be doused un­til the spring, mir­ror­ing the Fort McMur­ray wild­fire that Al­berta of­fi­cials said was fi­nally de­clared ex­tin­guished on Aug. 2.

“It goes down deep into the roots some­times and then pops up again in the sum­mer,” he said. “That’s not un­usual, so I think the for­est ser­vice felt we will be out deal­ing with these fires un­til well into October. And we will prob­a­bly be back with many hot spots again come spring.”

A small wild­fire that flared up near Canim Lake, east of 100 Mile House, prompted a tac­ti­cal evac­u­a­tion of about 88 prop­er­ties. There was no for­mal evac­u­a­tion or­der but an alert was in place.

Huge swaths of land that are now just bar­ren stretches of ash­cov­ered ground and charred tim­ber also worry the re­gional district as it pre­pares for rain in the fall.

“If we have some rains here, which we will be thankful to have to douse the fires, they could bring a mixed bless­ing and cause some land slip­page, too, so it’s not a pretty pic­ture,” said Rich­mond.

Scores of wild­fires burned across Bri­tish Columbia on Fri­day. An 1,800-square-kilo­me­tre strad­dling the Cari­boo and Thomp­son-Ni­cola re­gional dis­tricts flared again.

The BC Wild­fire Ser­vice said the blaze, sparked at the be­gin­ning of July near Ashcroft, was 50 per cent con­tained but re­cent scorch­ing heat and gusty winds caused the fire to grow.

All avail­able re­sources, in­clud­ing struc­tural pro­tec­tion crews were sent to the area, the wild­fire ser­vice said.

In south­east­ern B.C., an evac­u­a­tion alert was is­sued late Thurs­day for nearly 500 prop­er­ties about 35 kilo­me­tres east of Nel­son as a wild­fire caused by light­ning that broke out in late July grew to 25 square kilo­me­tres.

Wild­fire ser­vice spokesman Kevin Skrep­nek said a full back­coun­try clo­sure was not planned over the Labour Day week­end, but the prov­ince strongly rec­om­mended that peo­ple stay out of woods in the crit­i­cally dry Kam­loops, Cari­boo and south­east fire cen­tres.

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