Provincial and public response and information on BC’s wildfires

Dianne St. Jean

Locally

With all the news about more fires sprouting about across the province and the forecast for continuous hot, dry conditions, concerns for the Robson Valley have also been expressed, especially with the memory of the Valemount fire of a few years ago still fresh in many people’s minds.

As of July 11, the report from the Prince George Fire Information Centre is that, so far, our region is secure.

There is a fire in the Mica Mountain area which has been burning since May 23, but according to the information centre, it is still within its containment area. Although it does react to weather conditions and has become more active, the perimeter is still secure.

As explained by Donna MacPherson of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources (FLNR), as fires burn, they do not burn everything evenly. It is common to have pockets of un-burnt fuel within the perimeter of a fire that will ignite and burn under the right conditions. Having said that, the perimeter is holding, and is anticipated to continue to hold.

 

The Provincial Picture

The focus remains, of course, to the central and southern interior of the province, where a number of new fires have started over the last few days.

Fires are prioritized and responded to based on their potential impact on people’s safety, including infrastructure such as highways. 

With that, Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and Minister responsible for Emergency Management BC, has announced a provincial state of emergency to ensure a co-ordinated response to the current wildfire situation and to ensure public safety. This is an urgent situation and public safety is top priority. The Province will continue to keep the public informed in this rapidly evolving situation. The state of emergency gives agencies such as Emergency Management BC, the Fire Commissioner, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the RCMP authority under the Emergency Program Act to take every action necessary to fight these wildfires and protect residents and their communities.

 

The Response – and how you can help

The fires have caused significant damage to BC Hydro’s electrical infrastructure and have left thousands without power. BC Hydro is actively working with Emergency Management BC and fire officials to restore power where possible, with some power restoration in Cache Creek and Ashcroft. Before BC Hydro can begin work in other areas such as Williams Lake and 100 Mile House, however, they need clearance from fire officials, which may take some time since it is not safe for crews to enter areas while there is still fire activity and heavy smoke.

If you want to help those affected by the fires, you can make a donation at any BC Liquor Store. BC Liquor Store customers can contribute at the till in increments of $2, $5, or multiples thereof, with all proceeds going directly to the Red Cross. These funds will help with immediate needs for those affected, such as providing evacuees with shelter, food and water.  

NEED INFO?  

Find information on evacuation orders and alerts:
https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/

Keep up-to-date on the provincial wildfire situation: www.bcwildfire.ca

BC Hydro: bchydro.com/outages.

Red Cross:
http://www.redcross.ca/in-your-community/british-columbia-and-yukon;