Hundreds more overseas firefighters en route to British Columbia
06 August 2017
published by http://www.news1130.com
Canada - ASHCROFT (NEWS 1130) – With 127 wildfires burning across the
province, firefighters aren’t expecting any relief for at least a week, and
hundreds more overseas firefighters are on their way to help.
The BC Wildfire Service chief fire information officer, Kevin Skrepnek, says six new fires started on Saturday. He says crews are preparing for more hot and dry conditions, including thunderstorms this weekend and early in the week.
“Challenging conditions in terms of that lightning and new fire starts and really no real relief for the next week at least,” he says.
Skrepnek says hot and dry conditions will continue, and there’s no real relief in sight.
“We are expecting to be bringing in some additional out-of-province resources. (A) steady stream of people coming in and going over the coming weeks.”
More than 400 firefighters from Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the US will arrive in BC over the next week. They’ll be a mix of specialized support staff and highly trained and experienced wildland firefighting crews.
The Elephant Hill fire, near Ashcroft, is still 110,000 hectares in size and just 30 per cent contained.
Skrepnek says it’s taking up significant resources.
“Currently on this fire alone we’ve got 488 firefighters, an incident management team, 92 structural protection personnel, 86 support staff, 22 helicopters and 105 pieces of heavy equipment.”
Evacuation orders and alerts are still in place in many parts of the province. Chris Duffy with Emergency Management BC says there are currently 32 orders and 43 alerts.
“The number of people estimated to be on evacuation order is just under 6,900. Number on evacuation alert estimated at 26,600.”
He says a fire 52 kilometres east of Bella Coola forced 75 people to leave their homes this weekend.
“Affecting residents around Anahim Lake, Charlotte Lake and Nimpo Lake.”
Road closures are in place for some of BC’s bigger highways, including sections of Highway 1, Highway 95 and Highway 93.
Since April 1st, wildfires have burnt about 591,000 hectares of British Columbia- an area about the same size as Prince Edward Island.
Poor air quality continues in Lower Mainland
A Special Air Quality Statement is still in place for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Environment Canada says smoke from wildfires in the Interior is causing high concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air.
People with chronic medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.
Exposure is particularly a concern for babies, the elderly, and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.
Over the past 15 years, California and neighboring regions have experienced heightened drought conditions and an increase in wildfire numbers with considerable impacts on human livelihoods, agriculture, and terrestrial ecosystems. This new research shows that in addition to a discernible contribution from natural forcings and human-induced global warming, the large-scale difference between Atlantic and Pacific ocean temperatures plays a fundamental role in causing droughts, and enhancing wildfire risks.
"Our results document that a combination of processes is at work. Through an ensemble modeling approach, we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe," says co-author Axel Timmermann, Director of the newly founded IBS Center for Climate Physics, within the Institute for Basics Science (IBS), and Distinguished Professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. "By prescribing the effects of man-made climate change and observed global ocean temperatures, our model can reproduce the observed shifts in weather patterns and wildfire occurrences."