Wildfires Blaze through Western US and Canada

More than 6,000 firefighters were battling at least 15 large wildfires across California on Tuesday, prompting evacuations as high temperatures and dried out vegetation fueled dozens of blazes in the Western United States, fire officials said.

Hundreds of wildfires have been burning for days in Canada’s most westerly province.

Tired firefighters on the front-lines against wildfires across British Columbia – rapidly engulfing more than 30,000 hectares of the province – are about to get a reprieve, or at very least some “much-needed help”.

The New Brunswickers are among about 300 firefighters being sent to British Columbia from other parts of the country. The fire has not spread since it broke out Wednesday and was still less than a square mile Sunday.

Boston Flats, British Columbia, burnt earlier in the week. That fire also burned down several buildings and homes on the Ashcroft Indian Band reserve. Some pets died. Optimism is their only defense now.

“I’d hope someone would do the same for us if [the fire] was in Victoria”, Haire said. But I know it’s going to turn green.

“We thought we were in trouble”, Riley said.

He said Mounties told them to evacuate last weekend and the conversation quickly became heated.

Local expertise continues to be tapped to help with the fires, including View Royal Fire Chief Paul Hurst, who has been seconded by the Office of the Fire Commissioner to assist in planning for fighting fires in the Williams Lake area.

He said he was leaving his trailer attached to his truck and telling his daughters to keep prized possessions they couldn’t take the first time close at hand.

Right now thousands of people have been forced from their homes.

Residents of other nearby areas are living each day as it comes. Since the start of the wildfire season on April 1, the province has seen 604 fires, with the damage estimated at $53.5 million Canadian dollars (US $41 million).

“British Columbians are always quick to open their hearts and homes to help those in times of great need”, says Coast Capital President and CEO Don Coulter.

Imperial Metals says numerous roads used to access the site have been closed and if critical supplies such as fuel are no longer available, the mine may suspend operations altogether. The planes come down to the rivers, fill their tanks with water, then head back up and drop it from above.

They chose to leave after they lost power and smoke from nearby wildfires began to grow thicker. By Tuesday night, it had burned 5,800 acres and was 55% contained, Cal Fire said, but 5,400 homes were still threatened.

An emergency reception centre has been established at Lake City Secondary (Carson Campus) and any persons self-evacuating should report to this centre.

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