With high temperatures and tinder-dry conditions, B.C.’s wildfire danger is extreme

Click to play video: 'Residents who refuse to evacuate hinder the wildfire fight' Residents who refuse to evacuate hinder the wildfire fight
Provincial Fire Information Officer Jean Strong talks to Global News Morning about how residents who refuse to leave fire evacuation zones are complicating wildfire fighting efforts. – Jul 30, 2021

While the wildfire situation in B.C. has been less active this week, the next couple of days are a concern to fire crews.

Rob Schweitzer, director of fire centre operations with the BC Wildfire Service, said Thursday that daily fire ignitions this week have subsided and have allowed crews to build fire guards and gain control of some fires.

However, there is instability in the forecast ahead, Schweitzer said, and severe burning conditions in the south half of the province.

“Fire growths with new starts have been very aggressive,” he added.

Parts of B.C. are under a heat warning for the next few days. Daytime high temperatures near 30 C are expected, combined with overnight lows in the mid to upper teens, according to Environment Canada.

It’s expected the heat will start to dissipate Saturday night.

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The heat is a concern for wildfire crews, Schweitzer said, and due to the longer season and the challenging working conditions, they are making sure those working on the front lines are getting enough water, breaks and equipment they need to stay healthy.

Click to play video: 'Dashwood Fire Department shows just how fast a fire can spread' Dashwood Fire Department shows just how fast a fire can spread
Dashwood Fire Department shows just how fast a fire can spread – Jul 29, 2021

Read more: Video posted by B.C. fire department shows how quickly a cigarette can start a wildfire

There are 245 active fires in the province right now with 181 suspected to be caused by natural events and 15 suspected to be human-caused.

Thirty-six of those fires are wildfires of note they are very visible or pose a threat to public safety.

Firefighters have arrived from Mexico, Australia and other provinces and Schweitzer said they are already being deployed to where they are needed most.

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Meanwhile, Schweitzer is urging travellers to be very careful around the province this long weekend.

Roads and areas might be closed due to the fires and people are being asked to stay away from any location where there are evacuation orders or alerts in place.

Right now there are 62 evacuation orders in B.C. with 3,343 properties affected.

There are 87 evacuation alerts, with 17,679 properties affected.

Nineteen reception centres are set up and more than 6,094 evacuees have registered so far.

Click to play video: 'BC Paramedics brace for more hot weather' BC Paramedics brace for more hot weather
BC Paramedics brace for more hot weather – Jul 29, 2021

Read more: 70% of sudden deaths during recent B.C. heat wave tied to extreme temperatures, coroner says

While this expected heat will not be as intense as earlier this month, health officials are warning about the risks associated with this hot weather.

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B.C.’s chief coroner said Thursday 70 per cent of sudden and unexpected deaths during the recent heat wave were tied to extreme temperatures.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday everyone should check on those who are at higher risk of heat-related illness.

The risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.

Henry said heat illness can include swelling, rash, cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heatstroke and the worsening of some health conditions.

Everyone should drink plenty of water, schedule outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day, seek shade and check on older family, friends and neighbours.

People or pets should never be left inside a parked vehicle, Henry added.

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