Frefighter lights a backburn during operations in the Southern Interior. (B.C. Wildfire Service)

Wildfire threat eases, light rain expected Thursday

Only four new starts Tuesday as B.C. Interior battle continues

The B.C. Wildfire Service has a total of 140 fires on its active map as of Wednesday, and is making progress containing some of the larger fires that threaten communities.

The fire total is down from previous weeks, with only four new starts reported Tuesday.

“That’s certainly a lower number than we’ve seen in the last week or week and a half, so that’s certainly welcome, but there is definitely still a lot of active fire on the landscape,” said Kevin Skrepnek of the B.C. Wildfire Service in an update Wednesday afternoon.

Rain showers are expected across southern B.C. Thursday, but B.C. Wildfire Service officials aren’t getting their hopes up that it will ease the situation as hot weather is expected to return for the weekend.

There are 35,800 people registered with the Red Cross as evacuees as of Wednesday, said Robert Turner with Emergency Management B.C.

The B.C. government has extended the provincial state of emergency, due to expire Friday at midnight, for an additional two weeks. That means people who are still on evacuation and registered with the Red Cross are eligible for a second payment of $600 per household for each two weeks they remain out of their homes.

RELATED: State of emergency, evacuee funding extended

RELATED: Forest firefighters threatened with gun

The evacuation order for Cache Creek was downgraded to an alert Tuesday to allow people to return, but there are still restrictions on entry to the firefighting area, Skrepnek said. Cache Creek residents are cleaning fire retardant from some buildings, which is similar to fertilizer once dried and washes off with water and mild detergent.

The Hanceville-Riske Creek fire complex, southwest of Williams Lake, still had no containment as of Wednesday, but Skrepnek said heavy equipment was making good progress building fuel-free barriers to the north and northwest. It was estimated at 1,250 square kilometres.

The White Lake fire, which jumped the Fraser River Saturday and triggered the evacuation of Williams Lake due to concern about road access, was 10 per cent contained as of Wednesday and estimated at 81 square kilometres. That’s down from the previous estimate of 120 square kilometres, mostly due to more accurate mapping after smoke cleared, Skrepnek said.

The Elephant Hill fire, formerly called the Ashcroft Reserve fire, was estimated at 526 square kilometres, and 30 per cent contained.

Just Posted

Santa’s Light parade glides through town on Saturday

Vancouver Island’s most popular Christmas parade is back for its 36th year

VIDEO: Innovating healthier homes

NZ Builders bring commercial concept into residential realm to improve energy efficiency and health

West Shore RCMP catch thieves in the act in Colwood

Thieves were trying to steal a utility trailer from the driveway of a home

FISHING ADVENTURES: Winter fishing starts to pick up

Crabbing in Sooke Harbour continues to be good with large male Dungeness around

Sooke girls volleyball squad places seventh at Island tourney

Dawn Gibson Sooke News Mirror The EMCS senior girls volleyball team made… Continue reading

Victoria’s Gingerbread Showcase on full display

Donate to place a vote for the people’s choice winner and support Habitat For Humanity

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Running back propels Spectrum Thunder into first Subway Bowl final

Brandon Robbins scores hat trick of touchdowns

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Report sets exercise guidelines for young kids, including ‘tummy time’ for babies

Kids aged one to four should get at least three hours of physical activity throughout the day

Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Most Read