NEWS

New B.C. fires sparking despite cooling temperatures

07/10/2015 06:21 EDT | Updated 07/10/2016 05:59 EDT
A new Cougar Creek fire north of Hope, B.C. has led to an evacuation alert and another 15 in the area of Puntzi Lake remain on evacuation order. 

It's the ninth evacuation order in effect in the province where 208 fires are currently burning and many still smouldering, despite cooling temperatures and the first rain in weeks.

"The fire danger rating in this area is extreme," said fire information officer Melissa Klassen in a release about the Cougar Creek fire.

Evacuation alerts were delivered door to door and posted throughout the community near the latest lightning strike at Cougar Creek, affecting cabins along Hannah Lake and a River Rafting resort.

"This type of fire behaviour consumes timber completely through to the tree tops, and has a high potential of spotting ahead of the fire," the wildfire management branch said. "It also poses a safety risk for ground crews and aircraft conducting fire suppression efforts." 

This is just one of 19 larger wildfires of note listed on the B.C. Wildfire website, as either large, highly visible or a "potential threat to public safety." On Thursday, 15 new fires were reported, says the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch. 

"Our number one concern is ensuring public safety and enabling the Forestry Service and firefighting crews the ability to manage this wildfire and attempt to get it under control," Fraser Valley Regional District chair Sharon Gaetz wrote in a release.

Evacuation orders urge people to:

- Gather all family and prepare to leave your home and move to a safe reception centre.

- Gather essential items: medications; eyeglasses and valuable documents.

- Prepare to help disabled or children.

- Move pets or livestock to safe areas.

- Follow #FVRDWildfire and local radio stations to keep safe.

By the numbers

- 969 total number of fires in B.C. to date, which is double the rate in 2014.

- 265,000 hectares burned.

- 15 new fires on July 9.

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