Wildfires and smoke continue to be a concern in B.C. Monday with five wildfires of note currently burning in the province.
The Flood Falls Trail Fire, burning southwest of Hope, has now ballooned to an estimated 520 hectares and is considered to be out of control.
Paula Walbauer with the B.C. Wildfire Service said Monday that hot and dry conditions and windy weather have been fuelling the fire.
“We’ve been experiencing undue hot and dry conditions and that’s increased our fire behavior,” she said. “That fire’s burning in very steep terrain and presenting challenges for our ground crews.”
Lower Mainland air quality rated worst in world Sunday
Highway 1 between Hope and Bridal Falls was closed for hours due to the fire but reopened eastbound between Highway 9 and Hope.
According to Drive BC, the stretch of road has been reduced to 80km/hr and single-lane traffic between Exit 160 Hunter Creek and Exit 165 Flood-Hope Rd. Drivers should expect delays.
Thirteen properties in the small community of Laidlaw are now under evacuation order due to the Flood Falls Trail fire.
“Changing wind has really been challenging to fight this fire, and I noticed today with the inflows that the increased smoke in the area is making that fight difficult,” Walbauer added.
The cause of the fire is believed to be human but officials have not released any further details.
Growing wildfire threat on B.C.’s South Coast
Meanwhile, air quality improved slightly in Metro Vancouver Monday but remains at very unhealthy levels along with several other regions of the province.
Environment Canada is maintaining air quality statements for areas from the Peace River in the northeast to the Cariboo in central B.C., and the entire lower third of the province.
Vancouver no longer tops the global list of cities with the worst air quality, instead dropping to fifth worst behind Dubai and cities in Pakistan, China and Vietnam.
The Battleship Mountain fire, burning west of Hudson’s Hope, is now 28,765 hectares in size, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service.
This wildfire is still considered to be out of control.
The District of Hudson’s Hope has declared a State of Local Emergency and an evacuation order for the Municipality of Hudson’s Hope.
The Peace River Regional District has expanded its evacuation order.
Personnel conducted a successful planned ignition operation Monday due to favourable conditions on-site, the B.C. Wildfire Service said. The aerial ignition started from Williston Lake and continued southwest towards the Johnson Forest Service Road.
This operation allowed crews to gain a defensive advantage, the B.C. Wildfire Service said in an update Monday.
Night operations will continue this evening for crews to monitor fire behaviour overnight and perform small hand ignitions where safe to do so.
Smoke blankets B.C. as wildfires rage across province, U.S.
The Heather Lake wildfire, burning in Manning Park, is 10,358 hectares in size.
Approximately 5,439 hectares are burning in Canada.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has issued an evacuation alert for the community of Eastgate due to this fire.
There are also a number of trails and facilities within Manning Provincial Park south of Highway 3 that are affected by the Heather Lake wildfire.
B.C. Parks has issued an evacuation order and alert for these areas.
Meanwhile, the Fry Creek wildfire, burning on the east side of Kootenay Lake, remains an estimated 500 hectares.
The Bear Hole Lake fire, burning near the Kiskatinaw River in northeastern B.C., is 6,313 hectares in size.
Warm temperatures, elevated winds and decreased relative humidity Sunday produced another day of increasing natural fire behaviour.
Crews were successful at maintaining the containment within control lines with support from helicopter bucketing, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. Increased smoke was highly visible in the area and continues to drift east into Alberta.
-with files from The Canadian Press
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