B.C. wildfires on the rise amid drought, federal help on the way

B.C. wildfires on the rise amid drought, federal help on the way

The number of wildfires in British Columbia continues to rise amid persistent drought, and federal aid — including military resources — is on the way.

Bowinn Ma, B.C.’s minister of emergency management and climate readiness, says federal personnel will work alongside about 2,000 crew members with the BC Wildfire Service as they fight nearly 380 blazes burning throughout the province.

Canada’s minister of emergency preparedness, Bill Blair, announced the assistance on Friday after his counterpart in B.C. made the request.

The number of highly visible, threatening or potentially damaging “wildfires of note” has ticked up to 20 from 17 on Friday.

Maps from the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC show nearly 70 wildfire-related evacuation alerts and orders as of this morning.

B.C.’s drought bulletin shows nearly the whole province is experiencing drought conditions of at least Level 3 of five, with the Fort Nelson basin in the northeast, the Bulkley basin and all of Vancouver Island classified at the most severe level.

While wildfire activity was largely concentrated in northeastern B.C. earlier this season, most blazes of note are now clustered in the Bulkley-Nechako and Cariboo regions of the central Interior, between Prince George and Terrace.

An update from the BC Wildfire Service posted Thursday shows fires have scorched nearly 12,300 square kilometres of forested lands so far this season, eclipsing the 10-year average of about 760 for the same time of year.

RELATED: 19-year-old firefighter who died in B.C. is identified by her brother

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 15, 2023.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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