B.C. wildfire crews on high alert and summer is still weeks away

Click to play video: 'Growing concerns about increasing fire risk in B.C.'
Growing concerns about increasing fire risk in B.C.
WATCH: With hot, dry weather in the forecast for the coming days, British Columbians are being warned to be extremely careful outdoors. The federal government says preparations are ongoing for what is expected to be a severe fire season for most of the country this summer. Catherine Urquhart reports – Jun 5, 2023

B.C. wildfire officials remain on high alert as dozens of active wildfires burn around the province and it won’t officially be summer until June 21.

There are more than 40 wildfires that are considered out of control.

Fire Information Officer Kimberly Kelly said Monday that in the Coastal Fire Centre there have been 59 wildfires in the area since April 1. She said 40 of those are human-caused and 19 are undermined.

Click to play video: 'Federal government preparing for 2023 summer fire season'
Federal government preparing for 2023 summer fire season

There have been 13 wildfires sparked in the last seven days and three fires in the area are listed as out of control.

Story continues below advertisement

“All of the Coastal Fire Centre fire danger rating is in a moderate to high rating,” Kelly said. “That means we’re seeing forest fuels dry out and they will continue to dry until we have a significant period of rainfall, which is not in the forecast for this week.”

One of the fires of concern is the Cameron Bluffs fire, which is burning west of Highway 4 near Cameron Lake. Kelly said it is 20 hectares in size and the fire grew a small amount due to the wind Sunday night.

The other two fires of concern in the region are burning closer to Harrison Hot Springs.

Kelly said one fire is about 18 kilometres northwest of the Hot Springs and is estimated at 12 hectares in size. There is also a fire burning east of the Chehalis River and is estimated to be 50 hectares in size, Kelly added.

“This May was the driest on record for the coastal area,” she said. “So we are seeing very dry conditions.”

The Donnie Creek wildfire near Fort St. John is now considered to be 240,480 hectares in size.

Last Tuesday, the Peace River Regional District issued a new evacuation order for the Donnie Creek and Tommy Lakes wildfires, including the following areas:

Story continues below advertisement
  • north of Grewatsch Creek on PDR 222,
  • north of kilometre 44 on Tommy Lakes Road,
  • to the junction of Horse Range Creek and Sikanni Chief River,
  • northeast along Sikanni Chief River to the Peace River Regional District,
  • north of kilometre 20 on PDR 204 (Beatton Airport Road), and
  • extending north to the border with the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality.
Click to play video: 'Update on B.C. wildfires situation'
Update on B.C. wildfires situation

In addition, the regional district issued an evacuation alert for additional areas to the east of the fire, including:

  • one kilometre east of Highway 97 between kilometre 225 and kilometre 273,
  • due east to a point where it insects with West Milligan Creek,
  • due north to a point of intersection with Cautley Creek,
  • northwest to the Peace River Regional District,
  • west following the Peace River Regional District boundary to Kahntah River,
  • south following Donnie Creek/Tommy Lakes Wildfire Evacuation Order #5 to Buckinghorse River, and
  • southwest to one kilometre east of Highway 97.
Click to play video: 'Rebuilding of Lytton still slow going'
Rebuilding of Lytton still slow going
In addition, firefighters worked through the night to get the upper hand on a wildfire burning around two kilometres south of Lions Bay.

As of 9:52 p.m. Sunday, the fire was being held.

Story continues below advertisement

“The fire was first reported around 5:30 p.m., June 4 and is currently being actioned by two initial attack crews with the support of one helicopter,” according to Kelly on Sunday.

“Initial attack crews are four people, one crew leader and three crew members.”

Click to play video: 'Air quality issues could be prolonged in B.C.'
Air quality issues could be prolonged in B.C.

Elsewhere, the largest wildfire in Nova Scotia’s history is also still burning out of control in Shelbourne County, covering nearly 25,000 hectares.

In Quebec, more than 150 fires are being fought, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.

In Alberta, there are still 64 active wildfires but the province did finally end an almost month-old state of emergency over the weekend.

Sponsored content