It will likely be weeks until wildfire crews can get a handle on many of the province’s fires of concern, especially during another stretch of hot and dry weather.
And while officials think some could be under control and out in the next couple of weeks, some of the province’s biggest fires will be burning for months.
“To be honest, some of these larger fires in the south-central Interior, we’re going to be fighting these right up until the snow falls,” Rick Manwaring, deputy minister of forests, said Thursday. “So even though it’s a bit cooler, it’s because it is so dry, and winds continue to be challenging in these conditions with no precipitation.
“That tells us we’re in for at least three weeks to a month and probably right up into the late fall.”
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth urged everyone to keep looking forward and not get discouraged.
“We will get through this and see the other side of this fire season,” he said.
Farnworth and others were part of a tour of the White Rock Lake fire near Vernon on Thursday morning. He said he is in awe of the crews working on the front lines fighting the blazes.
Many parts of the province are under a heat warning.
Temperatures are not expected to get as high as in late June, but the hot and dry forecast is still a concern that more wildfires could ignite.
The Lytton Creek fire sparked following record-breaking highs and ripped through the Village of Lytton, destroying about 95 per cent of buildings and infrastructure.
As of Thursday, that blaze was 51,776 hectares in size.
The White Rock Lake fire could jump the fireguards, Manwaring said. That fire is 58,000 hectares.
Crews said increased smoke will be seen in the area of Naswhito Creek on the southeast flank of the fire as they continue to experience increased fire activity.
Multiple helicopters were on site bucketing water to cool hot spots and support crews on Thursday.
There are currently 266 wildfires burning in B.C., with 13 sparked in the past two days.
“We still have weeks ahead of us in this fire season,” Farnworth said.
As of Thursday, there were 55 evacuation orders in effect in the province, which covers about 4,592 properties, along with 105 evacuation alerts, which covers about 29,170 properties.
Environment Canada issued a smoky skies bulletin on Wednesday and again on Thursday, stating “many regions of southern B.C. are being impacted or are likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24-48 hours.”
There is no significant rain in the forecast.
In the Central Okanagan, residents woke up Thursday to a light dusting of ash.
The Metro Vancouver Regional District also issued an air quality advisory for greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. The Air Quality Health Index in Abbotsford and Chilliwack was a 10, meaning there is a very high health risk.
Emergency Management BC has been working with communities around the province to make sure they have resources and information, Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said Wednesday.
A list of cooling centres that will be open is available on Emergency Management BC.