A wildfire was sparked in Monte Lake next to Highway 97 Wednesday. (BC Wildfire Service image)

Wildfire fighting costs hit $154 million

14 new fires started on Wednesday

The cost of the province’s firefighting efforts have hit $154 million.

Fourteen new fires sparked on Wednesday, chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek told reporters on Thursday, for a total of 148 burning across B.C. currently. Since April 1, 794 wildfires have been burning across the province.

The newest major blaze started near Monte Lake, southeast of Kamloops, on Wednesday. Since then, rumours have swirled over whether a thrown cigarette may have caused it.

RELATED: Monte Lake wildfire 30 per cent contained

“It does appear that the fire started fairly close to Hwy. 97… but the investigation is ongoing,” said Skrepnek. The fire currently sits at 150 hectares.

“I think the speed and aggressiveness with which this fire displayed yesterday speaks to just how hot and dry conditions are out there… and how quickly these fires can grow.”

RELATED: Hikers fined for campfire in Cariboo

Skrepnek implored people to take precautions and fire-safe their homes.

“There’s a lot of practical things that people can do that don’t take a lot of time,” he said. “Moving woodpiles away from their houses, moving propane tanks away, spacing out trees, cleaning out gutters… basically moving any potential combustibles away from the house.”

Emergency Management BC deputy minister Robert Turner warned evacuees returning to Williams Lake to be careful. Part of the evacuation order for the area was downgraded to an evacuation alert earlier Thursday, and residents were allowed to go back home nearly two weeks after being forced out.

“We would encourage people to be looking at the maps to ensure that their specific area has changed from an order status to an alert status before they would be making a decision to return,” said Turner. “For those who do return, there will be a resilience centre set up in Williams Lake tomorrow.”

twitter.com

www.twitter.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Farmer lighting up 64 years of Christmas in Langley

A private light display near Williams Park in rural Langley continues to attract some spectators.

VIDEO AND PHOTOS: Langley firefighters take Santa for a ride

Seasonal fundraiser through Walnut Grove and Brookswood swaps candy canes for Food Bank donations

Christmas bird count is Dec. 30

The Langley and White Rock Naturalist clubs invite the public to help

Langley church prepares massive meal

A local chef and parishioners are taking charge in the kitchen for St. Joseph’s 25th annual dinner.

Giants ‘stuff’ Cougars

Vancouver blanks Cougars on Teddy Bear Toss night at Langley Events Centre

VIDEO: Langley Christmas Bureau braces for busy toy distribution days

Volunteers spent the weekend sorting gifts donated for kids from Langley’s underprivileged families.

Coghlan Christmas a sell-out for Aldergrove music fans

“Christmas Swing” concert presentation by Mike Sanyshyn, Tianna Lefebvre and Craig McGregor

Mini Pop Kids in Surrey for mid-February concert

Victoria and Kelowna the other two B.C. stops for ‘high-energy, interactive’ touring show

UPDATE: Coquihalla reopened northbound just south of Merritt

Reports say nine patients will be taken to hospital as a result of the Hwy. 5 crash

B.C. wildfire evacuee admits to setting hotel room fire

A Williams Lake wildfire evacuee admitted to setting Kamloops hotel room on fire

SLIDESHOW: A ‘bear’y good time at Giants games

The fur was flying as the Vancouver Giants celebrated their annual Teddy Bear Toss at the Langley Events Centre

UPDATE: Grizzly bear trophy hunting over in B.C.

Now only Indigenous people can hunt bears for meat

Star Blue Jays announced for Vancouver ‘Winter Tour’ event in January

Toronto’s pro baseball team heads west for two-day event

UPDATE: ‘Multiple fatalities’ as Amtrak derails in Washington State

13 cars jumped the tracks as train made its first voyage between Seattle and Portland

Most Read