Heavy smoke preventing air attack on B.C. fires

By James Peters
July 10, 2017 - 12:00pm Updated: July 10, 2017 - 2:00pm

KAMLOOPS — As many as 14,000 people are now out of their homes as fires creep closer to several communities in the BC Interior.

100 Mile House was evacuated late last night, representing the largest single community that has been completely cleared out.

Evacuees have been asked to make their way to Prince George, but many are finding shelter elsewhere.

There have been no new fire starts of significance over night or through the morning.

That is allowing firefighters to focus on the many large fires that started Friday and Saturday.

But Fire Information Officer Tracy Wynnyk says smoke across the Interior is hampering efforts from the air.

"What we are seeing with a lot of the fires right now is a lot of heavy smoke, and of course that is making it difficult for visibility for firefighters and the aircraft. We've had situations on some fires were we just can't aircraft in the air, because they really can't see the fire to fight it," said Wynnyk. 

The BC Wildfire Service says at least 225 wildfires have burned through more than 320-square kilometres of timber, bush and grassland.

Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says beginning today, 300 firefighters and support staff, along with specialized equipment, are due to arrive in B-C from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

WILDFIRE INFO: For useful links, and phone numbers click here

Past firefighting efforts have made B.C. forests more fire-prone: expert