BC Wildfire Service confirmed some 1,275 fires this year have scorched 501,676 hectares of land. That’s less than half of the worst fire season when 1,354,384 hectares burned in 2018.
Having eclipsed the 10-year average for hectares burned, or about 349,000 hectares, fire crews continue to battle 247 active fires across the province on Sunday. There are 3,230 firefighters and personnel fighting the fires, including 301 from out of province.
Burning 33 kilometres southwest of Princeton, the Garrison Lake wildfire is one of several that are proving difficult for fire crews to contain, reported Global News. BC Wildfire Service said it is 8,175 hectares in size and has demonstrated “significant growth” since Saturday. They also confirmed that several fires are showing intense fire activity.
On Saturday evening, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued an evacuation order for 156 properties in the Eastgate area of Electoral Area H due to the fire. Wildfire service aircraft and structural protection crews deployed to contain the fire faced heavy smoke in the area, limiting visibility. The heavy smoke prevented them from accurately mapping out the forest fire.
61 evacuation orders remain active across BC, affecting more than 3,100 properties. Residents of about 18,835 properties were warned that they might need to leave as well.
The Crazy Creek Gorge FSR fire, burning 29 kilometres north of Sicamous, is estimated at 1,700 hectares in size. The nearby communities of Queest Village and Pete Martin Bay on Shuswap Lake evacuated Saturday evening.
Another fire 2 kilometres south of the town is an estimated 1,200 hectares and is classified as "out of control." The fire is moving upwards, northeast and away from town and has not seen wind for nine days. However, forecasted precipitation may bring winds that could change the direction of the fire.
The Trans-Canada Highway remains open despite closures to nearby roads in the area.
In early July, the BC village of Lytton, located about 250 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, was almost completely destroyed by major wildfires that ravaged the region. As of Sunday, the fires are predominantly located in central BC.