Calmer weather and falling temperatures are helping cool the wildfire battle in B.C.
But another new storm is expected to arrive later this week that could cause more challenges for firefighters, particularly in the Cariboo Region.
Four new fires were sparked between Sunday and Monday with only one of them being determined as human-caused.
The area officials are concerned about this week’s storm impacting Williams Lake, where a number of fires continue to burn near the city.
Evacuation order to be lifted near Salmo
Conditions have eased around a wildfire sparked nearly two weeks ago in southeastern British Columbia, prompting the Regional District of Central Kootenay to rescind evacuation orders and alerts.
Officials say residents would be allowed to return early Tuesday evening to nearly 40 properties that were evacuated Aug. 12 as an aggressive wildfire flared 20 kilometres southwest of Salmo.
The fire closed Highway 6 leading to the Canada-U.S. border crossing at Nelway, and the regional district says both the highway and the border crossing were also scheduled to reopen Tuesday evening.
The B.C. Wildfire Service website shows the blaze had scorched about four square kilometres of bush and was 50-per-cent contained.
Wildfire officials reported 135 fires around B.C. on Monday and Wildfire Service spokesman Kevin Skrepnek said calmer and cooler conditions helped firefighters.
There was concern about an approaching storm forecast to bring gusty winds and lightning to the central Interior by Thursday, challenging crews trying to contain a nearly 4,700-square-kilometre wildfire that formed last week when 19 smaller fires grew together west of Quesnel.
The Plateau Fire
Over the weekend, a number of small fires have merged into the biggest fire currently burning in B.C.
The blaze is now being called the Plateau Fire and is being managed by two wildfire teams because of its size. Together the fires, which are burning north of Williams Lake by Nazko Provincial Park, have scorched 467,000 hectares.
“This is a massive area we are talking about and not burning in a neat tidy box by any stretch,” BC Chief Fire Information Officer said.
“It’s got fingers and flanks and different aspects across the area.”
There are more than 500 firefighters, 24 helicopters and 115 pieces of heavy equipment fighting the fires.
More than 1,000 fires have been sparked since April 1 with 137 fires still burning across the province, 3,800 people on evacuation order and almost 10,000 are on alerts.
~ with files from Canadian Press