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

ELECTION QUESTIONS: How do candidates form their opinions on transit in Surrey?

Who is on the right side of Surrey’s transit debate? That’s for voters to decide come Oct. 20.

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Rail-safety forum planned for White Rock this Friday

Event to include municipal, federal, provincial governments

White Rock open house to discuss city’s aquifer protection plan

Examination of potential hazards includes increased population, climate change

‘Connecting Threads’ and more in Surrey Art Gallery’s fall shows

Free admission at opening reception and panel discussion Sunday afternoon

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Possible shooting on Abbotsford street near Aldergrove

Witnesses report what sounded like 4 shots fired Tuesday evening, but that has not been confirmed

5 to start your day

B.C. parents sue after toddler dies in unlicensed daycare, vehicle explodes in Pitt Meadows and more

B.C. woman facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog seized

Kira, a Rottweiler, had kidney and bladder infections

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon.

Dozens speak at Vancouver hearing that could see duplexes replace single homes

The city clerk says 73 people signed up to speak at the hearing that began early Tuesday evening and adjourned hours later with 34 speakers still waiting.

North Carolina gov pleads with storm evacuees to be patient

The death toll rose to at least 37 in three states Tuesday, with 27 fatalities in North Carolina.

North and South Korea say they plan to bid for 2032 Olympics

Moon and Kim announced a sweeping set of agreements including a vow to work together to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Russia’s reinstatement after doping scandal goes to a vote

The World Anti-Doping Agency is due to vote Thursday Sept. 20, 2018, on possible reinstatement of Russia.

Most Read