Quesnel Lake (Angie Mindus/Williams Lake Tribune)

Winds continue to control wildfires in the Cariboo

Weekend forecast expected to include continued dry, hot weather and storms with little rain

Daily Cariboo Update – August 4, 2017

Daily Video Update: Mike McCulley of BC Wildfire Service provides an update on fires in the Cariboo Regional District. – August 4, 2017

Posted by Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre on Friday, August 4, 2017

August’s hot weather will play a big role in fire activity in coming weeks, as crews continue to battle more than 100 active fires on a daily basis.

In the Cariboo area, 14 wildfires of note are currently burning.

Meanwhile, firefighters continue to try and get a handle on 36 others around the Cariboo, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

The forecast in coming days is expected to include continued dry and hot weather with storms that won’t include much rain, chief information officer Kevin Skrepnek said Saturday. Wind also remains an ongoing problem this wildfire season.

In the Wildwood area, immediately west of Williams Lake, residents should expect to see an increase in smoke in coming weeks, originating from hotspots within the fire’s nearly 13,000 hectare perimeter. That fire remains 20 per cent contained.

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The White Lake fire is burning at an estimated 13,200 hectares in size, and is 40 per cent contained.

Big skimmers were used Friday to take water out of Big Lake and apply to the top end of the White Lake fire.

“It doesn’t mean that that fire was growing or increasing in size,” Cariboo Regional District’s Mike McCulley explained, including air tankers using retardant.

“It simply means we were trying to cool that area with the water and allow our ground crews to get in there behind them and do that really hard work of digging down and put the fire out.”

The Spokin Lake fire remains out of control, at 3,730 hectares in size.

Sprinkler set-ups are now being used in parts of the fire, to cool down the area, McCulley said.

The the Chilcotin region, the Hanceville-Riske Creek fire has also yet to let up, burning at 148,441 hectares in size.

“Winds coming out of the north were a little stronger than we have seen, and unfortunately that caused significant growth in the Chilcotin area,” McCulley said.

Winds can be useful for fire crews in some ways, he said, increasing air crews’ visibility on hot spots and allowing for more fire suppression. However, this also increases temperatures which allows for fires in the region to grow.

To the south, the Elephant Hill fire remains the province’s biggest concern, burning more than 100,000 hectares in size near Clinton and Savona.