The BC Wildfire Service is bracing for a cold front which is expected to whip up wind and wildfires burning across the Cariboo Saturday afternoon and into Sunday.
Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says wind speeds are expected anywhere between 20 and 50 kilometres per hour, and up to 70 km/hr in some areas. Skrepnek says officials are especially concerned with what the wind will mean for wildfires burning in the Cariboo region. “Given these winds, we are expecting the very real possibility of extreme and violently aggressive fire behaviour out there,” said Skrepnek during Saturday’s wildfire situation update.
Skrepnek says how the situation unfolds remains, quite literally, up in the air. He says the BC Wildfire Service will keep a close watch on how weather unfolds and its impact on fire behaviour. So far, the City of Williams Lake remains on an evacuation alert, although man people have voluntarily left the community.
Robert Turner of Emergency Management BC commended volunteers helping evacuees after a recent visit to the reception centre and lodging sites in Prince George. Turner says they are providing critical assistance to people facing a very traumatic event.
As for assistance from the Canadian Forces, Turner says military aircraft have been used to ferry RCMP to evacuation zones at Loon Lake as well as supplies to First Nations communities of Xeni Gwet’in and Tsi Del Del. He says CF aircraft will also be staged at the Puntzi Lake airstrip to assist with any potential evacuation orders.