The B.C. Wildfire Service is not optimistic a break will be coming anytime soon in the province’s wildfire fight. As of 1 p.m. on Friday there were 556 fires burning across the province and the weather is expected to remain hot and dry.
“No major rain in sight, nothing that would put a dent in the situation we see right now,” said BC Wildfire Service chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek. “The wind today is going to be our major challenge.”
There are currently 50 fires of notes burning across British Columbia. Those fires are in all six of the provinces fire regions and are adding to the challenge of getting the fires under control.
“In my time with the wildfire service I certainty haven’t seen that many significant fires burning at one time and so widespread as well,” said Skrepnek.
Forests Minister Doug Donaldson is touring the fire region on Friday. Donaldson visited evacuees in Burns Lakes, Fraser Lake and members of the Nautley First Nation.
WATCH HERE: Wildfires force B.C. to declare provincewide state of emergency
There are people in the Grassy Plains area who are under evacuation order, but have not left their properties. Homeowners in the area are attempting create their own fire breaks.
Donaldson understands that people are concerned about their property but is advising them to listen to the orders and alerts.
“For people who are under alert please take that seriously and be ready to evacuate,” said Donaldson.
“And for those under evacuation order it is my strong, strong suggestion to obey the evacuation orders. We do not want situations where people are compromised by quickly advancing fires and have to be either rescued or we are not being able to get to them.”
The province announced on Friday that it will match all donations to the Red Cross for those effected by the wildfires, up to $20 million.
“The wildfire situation just continues to deteriorate in the province,” said Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “The province is supporting this critical work by matching donations to the Red Cross so that those donations will go even further.”
The Canadian Armed Forces are now on the ground in B.C. There are 200 soldiers as part of a land task force that are based at a firefighting camp in Merritt.
“Our operational objective is to assist with fire mop up tasks thereby freeing up the BC Wildfire service front line firefighters to deploy to higher priority tasks,” said Maj. Jeff Allen from the Canadian Armed Forces.