Fire Fighting in Canada

Headlines News
B.C. heat wave increases wildfire threat

June 3, 2009, Vancouver - Much of B.C. is baking in record temperatures that are heating up the forest fire situation and triggering burning bans in many regions of the province.

June 3, 2009
By The Canadian Press

Temperature records were shattered Tuesday in several cities, including
Victoria, where the thermometer reached 30.4 degrees, breaking the old record of
27.3 degrees set 31 years ago.

Records were also set in Squamish, where it was 33 degrees, White Rock and
Pitt Meadows and more records could fall as the heat wave continues.

"We are definitely seeing warm, dry conditions throughout pretty much the
entire province right now and this is increasing the risk of fire starts and the
risk that those fires can spread quickly," said Kim Steinbart, provincial fire
information officer for the B.C. Wildfire Management branch.

Fire service officials said hot, dry conditions were expected to last until
at least Friday.

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Steinbart said there have been about 390 fires since fire season began April
1, burning more than 7,000 hectares.

It's actually an average number, she said, but this year there have been
several fires that have threatened communities in the past month, forcing
evacuations.

The main priority for provincial fire crews for now is a wildfire burning
west of Lillooet that has scorched 850 hectares of bush and forced the
evacuation of about 25 homes and businesses. Another 200 people remained on
evacuation alert.

The fire between Gun Lake and Tyaughton Lake has not grown since Tuesday, and
is about 15 per cent contained, Steinbart said.

There were 100 firefighters, nine helicopters and heavy equipment tackling
the blaze.

Elise Riedlinger, fire information officer for the Kamloops Fire Centre, said
the focus for fire crews in and around Tyaughton is on protecting structures and
property. So far, none have been damaged and the fire is up to 15 per cent
contained.

"The weather continues to pose some challenges for the crews," she said.
"We're seeing very hot and dry temperatures and we're also seeing inversions,
which are creating very smoky and hard-to-see conditions."

Smoke from the Tyaughton fire forced Metro Vancouver to issue an air quality
advisory for the Fraser Valley on Wednesday.

Another fire near the Yukon border, 220 kilometres west of Fort Nelson, has
forced the closure of the Alaska Highway on and off, and travellers are advised
to check for closures.

The fire threat is high to extreme over most of Vancouver Island, and
relatively high throughout most of central and southern British Columbia.

Burning bans have been put in place in several regions.