Gusty winds complicate B.C. wildfire fight, but human-caused blazes also a factor

How does one cope with the trauma of losing everything in a wildfire or being forced from your home for days or weeks at a time? That's the question being asked by researchers at UBC Okanagan. Mary Ann Murphy is an associate professor of sociology at UBCO's faculty of arts and social sciences and with the school of social work. She joins us to talk about what was learned from the 2003 fires.

Gusty winds and unsettled weather in parts of British Columbia helped kick up several wildfires over the weekend, forcing a number of evacuation orders and alerts.

Four regional districts, from the Sunshine Coast to the Cariboo, central Okanagan and Peace River, issued or upgraded evacuation orders between Friday and Sunday.

The most recent order covers the Glen Lake fire west of Peachland, a suspected human-caused blaze spotted on Saturday that the BC Wildfire Service says has burned more than four square kilometres and forced the evacuation of eight recreational properties.

The other three evacuation orders affect a total of 54 rural properties around the Horn Lake fire west of Williams Lake, the Clowhom Lake blaze northwest of Sechelt, and the Stoddart Creek fire north of Fort St. John.

As a gusty cold front swept through B.C. over the weekend, the Peace River Regional District upgraded orders and alerts on the northeast corner of the Stoddart Creek blaze, which has charred 295 square kilometres and has remained out of control since it was started, possibly by humans, in mid-May.

Evacuation alerts were also posted for blazes north and east of Pemberton, including for several properties at Spruce Lake in the South Chilcotin Mountain Park as the 93-square-kilometre Downton Lake blaze threatens the southern corner of the park known for its fishing and wild game viewing.

The wildfire service says the number of active blazes in B.C. remains above 400, with seven new fires started in the last 24 hours and 154 ranked as out of control.


© 2023 The Canadian Press

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