Vancouver’s air quality affected as several wildfires rage in province
Wildfires are ripping through forests in British Columbia, while the city of Vancouver is also affected.
The fires, which started in B.C.’s Okanagan region this month, have destroyed more than 600 homes and buildings, damaged about 200 and are threatening more.
The region is under a “red flag warning,” meaning conditions are expected to deteriorate again overnight and for several days.
“Today we saw, as ever, strong winds and temperatures hovering at 30 C, with the potential — and we are not out of the woods yet — for fires and wind to increase in severity,” said Fire Chief Blair Feltmate.
“We are dealing with an exceptional situation.”
According to Feltmate, wind speeds are expected to reach 30 kilometres per hour this afternoon and evening with the threat of potential fire outbreaks in the region.
He said people should “plan for an extended period of time as there is a high risk of blackouts during and close to the fire ignition.”
The fires have caused more than 4,500 fire fighters to respond in their efforts.
Here are some photos from the fires:
B.C. wildfires: the photos of the wild
“Wildfires are spreading in British Columbia, and the response is getting bigger with more firefighters,” said Environment Ministry spokesman Tyler Steere.
“Firefighters are working to suppress a rapidly spreading wildfire near the small hamlet of Salmon Arm.”
Steere said the blaze, which is burning just 3.5 metres above ground level, has destroyed more than 600 homes and more than 1,000 buildings, including three cottages.
He said the cause of the fire is unknown, but some reports suggest it started earlier this month.
In June, the province declared a state of emergency for the Okanagan region after a wildfire destroyed more than 220 homes and damaged another 90.
“This large and destructive wildfire is the result of human caused climate change which is rapidly affecting conditions for wildfires in this region,” said Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Fire Marshall Loeffler.