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Cooler, wetter weather has helped crews battle several major wildfires in BC’s Interior, though officials say the rain alone won’t douse the flames. West Kelowna fire Chief Jason Brolund says crews are feeling much better about the weather forecast and fire conditions around their community, but the McDougall Creek wildfire will be a threat in the Glenrose area for some time. Crews battling the Bush Creek East wildfire saved a home on the west side of Sorrento Tuesday night as flames encroached, but Tim Conrad with the Columbia Shuswap Regional District says the next morning brought favourable weather. The number of wildfires burning throughout B-C has ticked up to more than 420, with close to 200 classified as burning out of control.

The wildfire that’s destroyed or severely damaged nearly 170 properties in BC’s Shuswap region has emerged as a hot spot both in the province’s fight against major blazes threatening communities and also in the political arena. Peter Milobar, a BC United member who represents a nearby riding in Kamloops, says he and two other members of the BC United caucus issued a call for more help in the Shuswap area, which arrived shortly after their plea. But BC New Democrat Ravi Parmar says the Opposition members risked the safety of firefighters and residents with their call to defy evacuation orders. BC Wildfire Service officials say some local residents with firefighting skills have since been recruited to work with government firefighters.

The BC government says the risk of further rockfall means a stretch of Highway 97 remains closed north of Summerland after a slide earlier this week. The Transportation Ministry says about three-thousand cubic metres of material came down on the route between Callan Road and Okanagan Lake Provincial Park. It says geotechnical engineers are investigating in order to determine a timeline for reopening, but the route is not expected to reopen before Labour Day. The ministry says highways 97C, 5A, 3 or 33 are alternative routes and says the back-road detours are not recommended, especially at night.

Police in Victoria say a 42 year old man has been arrested and charged with four counts of arson in relation to fires in that city and neighbouring Saanich. They say investigators believe the man set three fires on Victoria’s Government Street in June and July, followed by the fourth fire in Saanich earlier this month. While no one was injured, police say the fires caused significant property damage. They say two of the fires involved vehicles being set alight at arental car business as well as a Mercedes-Benz dealership, while the other two blazes occurred at loading docks.

RCMP in Nanaimo are asking for the public’s help in locating a 24 year old woman who hasn’t been seen or heard from since Tuesday. The Mounties say they’re concerned she may be with a 28 year old man who is wanted on outstanding warrants that include sex assault and forcible confinement. Anyone with information about the man, Garrett Sahm, is asked to call police. RCMP describe him as a white man weighing about 135 pounds and standing five-foot-11 with receding brown hair, while the woman is described as white, five-foot-three and weighing 105 pounds with long brown hair.

Kamloops city council has voted to support a City of Prince George request that the provincial government cover the cost of medical calls attended by firefighters. The northern BC city is set to table that resolution at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention next month. Kamloops Councillor Kelly Hall says more than 60 per cent of calls attended by firefighters in her city involve medical emergencies. She says that adds to the burden on local taxpayers and the province, which is responsible for health-care services, should step up.