Residents of central and southern British Columbia are witnessing what those in Fort McMurray and area experienced roughly a year ago; in May 2016. There are over 180 wildfires known by the British Columbia government as of this writing at 11:30 pm on July 8, 2017. There have been over 100 wildfires that have been out of control now for over 36 hours. Over 30,000 British Columbians have been forced out of their homes over the course of the past two days.
Evacuation orders have been issued for Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Princeton, 105 Mile House and 108 Mile House, with evacuation alerts out for 100 Mile House and 150 Mile House. Temperatures have been floating around 30 degrees Celsius for the past two days, with no rain anywhere in the near or distant forecast for the areas affected most heavily by these wildfires.
Lightning is the expect cause of fire for most of the wildfires, however some select wildfires – with at least one being over 1,000 hectares in size – are thought to be human-created; whether accidental or intentional is unclear.
There are over 2,000 firefighters, wearing the heaviest of protective gear, fighting these fires day in and day out. 60 firefighters from Alberta have made their way to support their neighboring province, with an additional 35 other wildfire control personnel.
At least 38,000 people have been notified to evacuate their homes thus far, with at least 30 trailer homes, 2 hangars and 12 houses being destroyed by these mostly-lightning-created wildfires and forest fires. The buildings in question were located near Cache Creek in a mobile home park on the Ashcroft Indian Band.
A look at the aftermath of a wildfire near Cache Creek that swallowed up a mobile home park. • Around 30 trailer homes were lost, 2 hangars at a nearby airport and about a dozen homes on the Ashcroft Indian Band. • Towards the Cariboo region, the Gustafson fire has grown to an estimated 3200 ha, according to BC Wildfire Service. • Latest info in our bio link. 📷 submitted to CBC #bcwildfires #cachecreek #ashcroft #bostonflats #wildfires #fires #thompson #thompsonokanagan #nicolavalley #tnrd #bcwildfire #bcstorm
173 wildfires started on Friday, July 7, 2017 alone, which is over 90% of the wildfires that firefighters are fighting to get control of today.
One 20-year-experienced forestry firefighter says it is absolutely overwhelming, and the fires are fast-moving.
Most of Canada – and even beyond – will remember the frightening photos and videos that people took while fleeing the flames of the Fort McMurray wildfires of 2016; The Beast. I wrote a very detailed article about that [here] if you wish to read it.
Here’s a video of evacuees driving right beside the wildfire in an attempt to escape unscathed:
According to the government of British Columbia, there are approximately 2,000 wildfires that occur each year throughout the province. Over the course of the past 48 hours, there have already been nearly 10% of this year-round count.
If you know of a wildfire that hasn’t yet been reported, please call 1.800.663.5555 or *5555 on mobile.
Take a look at the [BC Fire Bans and Restrictions] before having any camp or backyard fires in your area.
Before heading out every day, check the [British Columbia Air Quality Index] to make sure that the air quality in your area is okay to breathe for lengthy periods of time.
If you have any additional questions in regard to the wildfires, please do not hesitate to contact the fire information line at 1.888.336.7378.
To stay aware of the current wildfire situation for the entire province of British Columbia, you can take a look at the [BC Government’s Fire Info page], which is updated once-daily at midnight.
As to be expected, people from all over have come together to help out British Columbians who were forced to evacuate their homes. It’s devastating, and if you’re able to help out, one way you are able to do that is by texting FIRES to 45678. That will automatically send a donation of $10 to the Red Cross, who will be supporting British Columbians during this devastating time. You can also [donate online].
If you aren’t able to provide monetary support, there are other ways you can help. For example, a group of Fort McMurray and area residents have gotten together to provide the people of central & southern British Columbia with goods such as water, Gatorade, eye drops, sunscreen, department store and gas station gift cards, toilet paper and so much more. They managed to fill up an 18-foot trailer full, and it’s set to depart early Sunday morning.
This weekend really is as bad as it seems. Quite a few areas in central and southern British Columbia have been [breaking weather records]; one of them dating as far back as 1908.
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A year ago — less two months — Alberta’s fire map was the one full of red. At the time of this writing, there are [zero out of control wildfires in the province of Alberta]. It is no wonder some of our firefighters have offered to head to BC to help out with the destruction happening on the other side of the provincial border.
Here’s an interactive & up-to-date [map of all the BC wildfires].
Here’s a very helpful list of things to grab and do when getting ready to possibly evacuate:
Brought to you by a Fort McMurray evacuee from 14 months ago.
- Fuel your cars immediately, even if you think you are not under threat, it does not take much wind to change the direction of the fire.
- Pack all necessary items that are irreplaceable, things you have emotional attachments to, anything else that can be bought or replaced make a video of it as it is easier to prove later to the insurance companies. MAKE SURE TO CARRY ALL IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS.
- Pack enough supplies but most importantly WATER.
- If you have been EVACUATED, call your insurance company and get a claim started, this way they are aware of you being evacuated and give you a claim number.
- IF POSSIBLE KEEP ALL THE RECEIPTS OF THE ITEMS YOU BUY AND MONEY YOU SPEND, its not the most important thing but remember you pay insurance premiums for a reason.
Support from communities across BC & abroad send supplies. People are dropping off things such as bedding, toys, collars, leashes, food and treats for animals, and crucial and helpful things for fellow human beings.
Here’s some photos from Four Paws Food Bank in Kamloops, showing all of the support they’re getting for our furry friends. They haven’t received anywhere near this many donations since back in 2003.
Homes and businesses all across central & southern British Columbia are opening their doors to help evacuees with food to eat, and a place to sleep.
Here’s a video of Frontier Estates in 150 Mile by Randy Krausz:
Thank you to all of the first responders, firefighters, officers, and other personnel helping with this devastation. Please remain safe out there.
Here are some photographs of the wildfires in BC from Instagram:
Truly heartbroken for all those affected by the wildfires. If you know of anyone who is evacuated, please let them know about these offers. . . From the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce: The #Kamloops community is stepping up in a big way to meet the needs caused by #BCWildfires and our local businesses are no exception. The following Kamloops companies are among those offering services / products to those displaced by the fires: 1. Papa John’s Pizza – free single topping medium pizza per person per day 2. BOLD Pizzeria – free spaghetti dinner and mineral water per person per day 3. No Limits Fitness – free shower and use of facility 4. Frenchies Poutinerie is offering one free meal and drink per day until the situation is resolved. 5. Cascades Casino is offering one free meal voucher per person per day for their buffet. 6. Browns Social House is offering 50% off meals to evacuees THIS WEEKEND. 7. Cafe Motivo is offering free kids drinks and 50% off all other drinks to evacuees.
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This article was written by Jody Mitoma.