August 1, 2017 12:27 pm
Updated: August 1, 2017 10:49 pm

B.C. wildfire status Tuesday: Unprecedented wildfire season

The RCMP is now probing what sparked one of B.C.'s biggest wildfires, as officials prepare more resources on the ground for an expected heatwave. Smoke and warm temperatures are also having an impact on people in Vancouver. As Reid Fiest reports, officials in Alberta are also trying to reduce the risk of a fire.


Fire officials were hoping for a reprieve but as temperatures are set to soar, it doesn’t look like that’s coming.

More than 150 wildfires are still active in the province and the Cariboo Region has been hardest hit with more than 200 fires this summer that have resulted in 325,000 hectares being scorched.

Fire officials are concerned the extreme dry heat could fuel more fires across the region.

“This has been a historic few weeks for the province,” Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service said.

WATCH: Latest B.C. wildfire coverage

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“We’ve got a state of emergency in effect and the level of activity we’re seeing right now is almost unprecedented. The number of fires we’re dealing with, it’s been a trying time for the Wildfire Service, all the evacuees and all the volunteers for the people who have been displaced… it’s been quite a few weeks.”

MAP: Where the wildfires are burning around B.C.

Environment Canada says daily temperature records from Tuesday to Thursday will likely be broken in many communities, along with all-time records for the month of August.

For example, the highest August temperature ever recorded at Abbotsford is 36.3 C and the forecast for Thursday is 35 C. Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, the Sunshine Coast and south and eastern Vancouver Island are all forecast to feel the burn until at least the middle of the week.

On Monday an air quality advisory was issued for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley due to winds bringing in smoke from the B.C. wildfires. There are several special air quality weather alerts in place for other parts of the province. The Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley air quality advisory is expected to continue until there is a change in the current weather.

WATCH: Timelapse shows Clinton, B.C. wildfire send billowing smoke skyward

Officials are estimating about 6,000 people are still displaced due to evacuation orders.

Thousands of fire personnel are working to battle the flames around the province, with about 750 of them coming from outside B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Vancouver Tuesday morning after visiting areas in central B.C. that were devastated by wildfire. Trudeau met with Canadian Armed forces and RCMP members and thanked the men and women working on the front lines of the fires.

WATCH: Trudeau talks monetary contribution from feds to wildfire recovery

Residents of Williams Lake have been returning home for the past few days after being ordered to leave more than two weeks ago.

Others in the region remain out of their homes after a flurry of evacuation orders were issued late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

Seventy-five kilometres south of 100 Mile House, residents of the village of Clinton and surrounding areas were forced from their homes because of the flames were “rapidly moving.”

The Cariboo Regional District has also issued an expanded evacuation order for the Kluskus, Blackwater and Clisbako area, about 100 kilometres west of Quesnel. The district also issued an expanded evacuation alert for the Nazko, Tatelkuz and Batnuni area. It also issued an evacuation alert for a region south of Highway 24. The nearby Green Lake area is under an evacuation order.

~ with files from Amy Judd, Jon Azpiri and The Canadian Press

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