Smoke paints the sky at Fraser Lake in northwestern B.C. At times ash and smoke from forest fires created near-darkness in daytime. (David Luggi)

Conditions improve for battling northwest B.C. wildfires, minister says

‘Self-evacuated’ people fleeing smoke advised to go home

On his third trip to the Fraser Lake area in the past week, B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said Friday dark ash cloud conditions have eased after severe visibility problems earlier in the week, to allow more aerial attack on fires in northwest B.C.

The Shovel Lake fire north of the lake has prompted one of 28 evacuation orders as the B.C. Wildfire Service, police and Canadian Forces personnel deal with 556 fires as of Friday afternoon.

With another 49 evacuation alerts in effect, covering more than 11,000 properties around the province and facilities strained to the limit in Prince George, Emergency Management B.C. has asked people who “self-evacuated” due to smoke conditions without being ordered out, to go home and leave motel rooms and other spaces for people who have no choice but to evacuate.

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry advised people who are not on evacuation order to prepare a room in their home, using a hepa filter for air if possible, or visiting libraries and community centres for cooler, filtered air to relieve smoke irritation.

In the southeast, the city of Kimberley was put on evacuation alert, with senior homes beginning to transfer patients who would not be able to leave quickly if fire threatened the community.

RELATED: Interior health evacuating Kimberley facilities

RELATED: B.C. communities wake up to heavy smoke, ash

The province announced Friday it will match public donations to the Red Cross fund to assist people displaced by wildfires. North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness, said donations will be matched up to $20 million, or until Oct. 12. Donations can be made at www.redcross.ca and at local Red Cross offices.

Canadian Forces Major Jeff Allen said a land task force of 200 troops and equipment has been deployed to the Okanagan to support firefighting efforts, with a field camp established at Merritt to assist with mop-up operations and allow provincial fire crews to move on.

Kevin Skrepnek, chief information officer for the B.C. Wildfire Service, said the weather forecast for the province remains “bone dry” into next week, with some rain possible in the Kootenay region after the weekend.

Just Posted

WATCH: Langley art beneath the vines helps hospice

West Coast Fine Arts late summer show enjoyed natural light in a winery’s greenhouse.

VIDEO: Driving from Langley to Whistler to help firefighters

Second annual rally for Porsche fans draws increased turnout

VIDEO: Multiple power outages in Langley

Traffic accidents among the causes

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants earn a 3-1 victory over Everett in season-opener in Langley

Langley’s major junior hockey team opened the season at home with a victory over the Silvertips.

VIDEO: Police cooperation leads to arrest and interception of stolen Langley truck

A pickup was stolen in Langley early Friday morning and crashed in Burnaby later in the day.

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read