Smoke paints the sky at Fraser Lake in northwestern B.C. At times ash and smoke from forest fires created near-darkness in daytime. (David Luggi)

Conditions improve for battling northwest B.C. wildfires, minister says

‘Self-evacuated’ people fleeing smoke advised to go home

On his third trip to the Fraser Lake area in the past week, B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said Friday dark ash cloud conditions have eased after severe visibility problems earlier in the week, to allow more aerial attack on fires in northwest B.C.

The Shovel Lake fire north of the lake has prompted one of 28 evacuation orders as the B.C. Wildfire Service, police and Canadian Forces personnel deal with 556 fires as of Friday afternoon.

With another 49 evacuation alerts in effect, covering more than 11,000 properties around the province and facilities strained to the limit in Prince George, Emergency Management B.C. has asked people who “self-evacuated” due to smoke conditions without being ordered out, to go home and leave motel rooms and other spaces for people who have no choice but to evacuate.

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry advised people who are not on evacuation order to prepare a room in their home, using a hepa filter for air if possible, or visiting libraries and community centres for cooler, filtered air to relieve smoke irritation.

In the southeast, the city of Kimberley was put on evacuation alert, with senior homes beginning to transfer patients who would not be able to leave quickly if fire threatened the community.

RELATED: Interior health evacuating Kimberley facilities

RELATED: B.C. communities wake up to heavy smoke, ash

The province announced Friday it will match public donations to the Red Cross fund to assist people displaced by wildfires. North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness, said donations will be matched up to $20 million, or until Oct. 12. Donations can be made at www.redcross.ca and at local Red Cross offices.

Canadian Forces Major Jeff Allen said a land task force of 200 troops and equipment has been deployed to the Okanagan to support firefighting efforts, with a field camp established at Merritt to assist with mop-up operations and allow provincial fire crews to move on.

Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the B.C. Wildfire Service, said the weather forecast for the province remains “bone dry” into next week, with some rain possible in the Kootenay region after the weekend.

Just Posted

Two monumental poles return home to Haida Gwaii

The artifacts ended up in Vancouver by being taken, appropriated, stolen, or sold through the years

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Haida artist Derek Edenshaw helps Rupert spruce up city

A giant kraken, painted by local artists under Edenshaw’s tutelage, is now on display

Haida Gwaii teacher denied paid bereavement travel leave

Arbitrator sides with B.C. Teachers Federation in dispute over funeral trip

Skeena mainstem closed to recreational sockeye

Escapements expected to be below 800,000 threshold

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Most Read