B.C. premier to visit Interior towns, cities affected by devastating wildfires

Click to play video: 'Premier tours wildfire-impacted communities'
Premier tours wildfire-impacted communities
Just back from his tour of communities affected by B.C. wildfires, Premier David Eby joins Global news morning to talk about how the province can support their recovery – Aug 23, 2023

B.C. Premier David Eby and Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma are set to visit the province’s southern Interior on Monday to meet with those affected by this season’s devastating wildfires.

The provincial government says Eby and Ma will meet with residents, local authorities, volunteers, and members of the BC Wildfire Service.

There are more than 400 wildfires currently burning in the province and more than 22,500 square kilometres of land have burned so far in a record-breaking fire season.

In the Kamloops Fire Centre, where provincial officials are visiting, more than 1,900 square kilometres have burned this season after lightning sparked blazes across the region.

Click to play video: 'Controlled burn above West Kelowna sparks panic on social media'
Controlled burn above West Kelowna sparks panic on social media

Officials in the Okanagan said Sunday that they don’t are expecting to lift any evacuation orders or alerts related to the out-of-control McDougall Creek wildfire.

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In an update Sunday, Central Okanagan Emergency Operations said hundreds of properties remain evacuated, including 122 in the hard-hit city of West Kelowna.

Properties still under evacuation orders due to the blaze “are more remote, topographically challenging and/or close to active wildfire areas,” it added.

Meanwhile, BC Hydro crews are still working to replace more than 400 power poles and other infrastructure damaged by flames, including 27 kilometres of power lines and dozens of pieces of equipment.

A statement from the power authority said other efforts are underway to make evacuated areas safe to return to, including restoring gas and water services, and removing problem trees and other hazards.

Click to play video: 'Evacuees could be out of homes for another two weeks'
Evacuees could be out of homes for another two weeks

Up north, the BC Wildfire Service said Sunday that weather in the Prince George fire centre is expected to be warm, dry, and windy.

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The service said strong gusts of wind are possible this week, and coupled with “persistent drought conditions,” it expects increased wildfire activity and smoky conditions “across the region.”

“Individuals in the vicinity of existing wildfires are encouraged to stay alert and aware of the current wildfire situation as wildfires are dynamic and conditions may change rapidly,” the wildfire service said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2023.

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