More than 160 forest fires are forcing thousands of B.C. residents to be forced out of their homes and leave their communities.
A reported 2,500 people were told to leave their residences in the Okanagan on Thursday, as fires raged on near West Kelowna. The fire, which was apparently sparked by human activity, expanded to two square kilometers in size by the evening.
The Mount McAllister wildfire has grown to 200 square kilometers in size. That is approximately the area of Vancouver and Burnaby combined. The fire was sparked by a lighting strike and continues to grow. The blaze has been deemed too extreme for firefighters to combat from the ground.
On July 16, Premier Christy Clark tweeted that B.C. was experiencing the driest conditions since 1958 and the province was spending $3.5 million a day to put the flames out.
Large fires are all currently impacting the Thompson, Okanagan, Fraser Canyon, Shuswap, Nicola and Similkameen areas.
Out of the 17 wild fires burning around the province, nine of them are interface fires meaning that they are likely to cause damage to property.
This past Sunday a 21-unit team from Ontario arrived in Kamloops to help combat the flames. A 14-person team from Alberta has also been sent to the Red Deer Creek fire.
Environment Canada has issued an air quality statement for much of the eastern half of B.C., warning residents to protect themselves from the smoke.
— Kathy Worobec (@KathyWorobec) July 18, 2014
— Carly Hoath (@CarlyHoath) July 18, 2014
— Fred Bentler (@Bentler) July 13, 2014
driving through the okanagan is real scary rn bc forest fires make the sky look like this pic.twitter.com/pyQPspn0kT
— hannah wiley (@hanwiley) July 17, 2014
Smoke on the water. Forest Fires all over BC. Makes for some crazy sunsets! pic.twitter.com/23QFUbjskG
— Jaymes (@jaymes_00) July 18, 2014
— Anita DeKok (@AniT00n) July 18, 2014
Featured Image: Government of BC