Wildfire crews battling several major blazes around British Columbia had a busy but not overwhelming weekend, although the BC Wildfire Service says challenging conditions could arrive within days as heat and powerful winds settle over the southern half of the province.
The wildfire service is reporting about 375 fires around B.C., with about 11 recorded since midday Sunday and another 11 still ranked as fires of note, meaning they are highly visible or threaten people or property.
One of those, the Ross Moore Lake fire south of Kamloops, now covers more than 72 square kilometres, and on Sunday prompted a revised evacuation order for two properties east of Lac Le Jeune and an updated evacuation alert covering 343 properties.
Plans to carry out controlled burns south of Lac Le Jeune have been thwarted by wind, but in southeastern B.C. the wildfire service says crews were able to strengthen containment lines around a nearly 10-square-kilometre blaze just west of Sparwood, as they brace for gusty winds forecast on Thursday.
Crews also had to work fast to douse flames that broke out Sunday on the hill just above Teck Resources’ Trail operations, potentially threatening the work site as well as some homes near the community of Warfield.
The wildfire service says one of its helicopters, aided by a full response from Kootenay Boundary firefighters and Teck’s trained crews, had handled the suspected human-caused blaze within hours.
The fire danger rating in that area, and for most of southern B.C., is ranked at moderate to high, while mapping shows the majority of the province remains at a drought level of four or five on the five-point scale, meaning serious economic effects from the dry conditions are likely or almost certain.