An information officer with the BC Wildfire Service says 400 fire personnel and 22 helicopters were in the vicinity of four blazes around the city of Fort St. John, with more resources arriving by the hour ahead of a warm front. Hannah Swift says crews took advantage of a break in the weather yesterday to reassess their position before the temperature goes up and the winds shift again. The city of about 21-thousand in northeastern BC remains on evacuation alert with flames about 20 to 25 kilometres away. Cliff Chapman, the wildfire service’s operations director, says parts of BC are in the midst of their “core fire season,” months ahead of schedule.
Rising waters in the Skeena River have prompted the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine to issue an evacuation order for properties in the small settlements of Old Remo and New Remo, just west of Terrace. A flood watch is in effect for the region, with BC’s River Forecast Centre saying flooding on the Skeena River could reach a 20-year high today or tomorrow. The centre says the early season heat is accelerating snowmelt across most of the province, and it estimates the Bulkley River near Smithers could reach 10-year flow levels by today or tomorrow as well. Flood watches are also in effect for part of the Bella Coola River on the central coast, as well as for Cache Creek, the Kettle and Granby rivers in the Boundary basin, and the Slocan River near Crescent Valley.
The BC government is set to ban most types of fires in coastal communities starting tomorrow at noon amid unseasonably hot temperatures. The Coastal Fire Centre includes Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands, where the province is poised to ban all category two and three fires ahead of the long weekend. Category one fires, such as campfires that are no larger than half a metre high and half a metre wide, will not be banned, although the province says people should keep water on hand and avoid having a campfire when it’s windy. Fireworks, sky lanterns, burn barrels and binary exploding targets will also be prohibited, with Haida Gwaii exempt from the ban.
An evacuation order has been lifted for one final property after two landslides in a small community in the Regional District of Central Kootenay earlier this month. The district says it has rescinded the order along Little Slocan South Road in the community of Vallican, west of Nelson, while alerts have been lifted for five others. It says the risk of debris flows triggered by melting snow in Talbott Creek is now lower with the reduced snowpack, but people living along the road should remain vigilant and keep track of the weather forecast during the freshet season. The district says a wildfire in the area in 2020 has elevated the risk to all properties along Talbott Creek and another unnamed creek nearby.
Mounties in Kelowna say they’ve notified BC’s police watchdog after a police dog injured a man who was running away from officers pursuing him. RCMP say officers pulled over an stolen vehicle with four people inside. They say the occupants ran away when officers told them they were under arrest, including one man who was holding what was believed to be a weapon. A police dog gave chase and made contact with the man, who was taken to hospital for treatment of his undisclosed injuries.