Smoke obscures sky at Okanagan Lake and other areas of the B.C. Interior. (Black Press)

B.C. wildfire emergency extended to Sept. 1

Dozens of fires still burning since July declaration

A provincial state of emergency has been extended to Sept. 1 as provincial forest officials cope with the largest area affected by fire since B.C. records were kept starting in 1950.

The declaration, imposed July 19 and now extended a third time, applies to the entire province. It gives federal and provincial officials extra authority to conduct evacuations and take whatever actions necessary to protect people and property.

As of Friday morning there are 138 wildfires in B.C., with 27 evacuation orders affecting approximately 4,400 people and 40 evacuation orders affecting more than 20,000 more. The area burned is estimated at more than 9,000 square kilometres, exceeding the previous record set in 1958.

One reason for the vast area burned this year is the grassland and semi-desert sagebrush areas of the Cariboo-Chilcotin and upper Fraser Canyon region, made drier by the lack of sustained rain since the end of June. The damage to harvested hay and grazing land is an additional burden to ranchers and farmers dealing with destroyed fences and thousands of scattered livestock, some of which have died in the fires.

B.C. Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek said the largest fires near Kamloops and Williams Lake remain stable, but winds gusting up to 80 km/h are forecast going into the weekend and that may cause them to spread.

Rain showers are expected, along with lightning through the affected areas, with more sustained rain forecast for the northwest.

Just Posted

Program allows grades 4-5 students to ski for less

The SnowPass is eligible at Troll Resort, as well as more than 30 mountains across B.C.

Quesnel ringette teams showed talent in Prince George tournament

A range of ages played and won in annual competition Nov. 10-12

University ‘sports’ can be less athletic

Correlieu student Katherine Osmond on unique university sports that focus on fun

Quesnel’s Atom Select team wins Kamloops tournament

Quesnel Thunder took top spot in Okanagan tournament with outstanding performance

Skies over Quesnel will light up on Dec. 2 with magnificent fireworks display

As a thank you to all their loyal supporters and a gift to the community, Billy Barker Days Society is sponsoring a fireworks display

VIDEO: Quesnel’s Debbie Unrau creates very unique keepsakes

The Observer’s Annie Gallant speaks to Debbie Unrau about her memorial jewellery creations

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

B.C. VIEWS: China a better partner than U.S.

B.C. is slowly winning the softwood lumber war

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Most Read