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Intense and volatile wildfires spread across British Columbia

Wildfires in the western Canadian province of British Columbia on Friday portend one of the worst fire seasons on record.

The Tumbler Ridge Fire - The BC Wildfire Service continues to respond to the West Kiskatinaw River (G70645) and Peavine Creek (G70644) wildfires in the Dawson Creek Zone. These incidents both experienced aggressive fire behaviour and growth over the past 24 hours. Source - BC Wildfire Service
The Tumbler Ridge Fire - The BC Wildfire Service continues to respond to the West Kiskatinaw River (G70645) and Peavine Creek (G70644) wildfires in the Dawson Creek Zone. These incidents both experienced aggressive fire behaviour and growth over the past 24 hours. Source - BC Wildfire Service

Wildfires in the western Canadian province of British Columbia on Friday portend one of the worst fire seasons on record.

One wildfire of note is on Tumbler Ridge, a community with a population of 2,400 in northeastern B.C., which was been ordered to evacuate Thursday due to the danger posed by an encroaching wildfire.

Officials also expanded evacuation orders for the Donnie Creek fire, the second-largest recorded in the province, in the Peace River region.

The number of hectares burned in this year’s wildfire season has already exceeded the 520,520 hectares burned in 16 of the last 20 wildfire seasons in B.C., according to Global News.

Bowinn Ma, minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, said Thursday that “this year’s wildfire season is already well underway and has been since mid-April.”

There are currently 78 active wildfires in the province, with 24 considered out of control. There are five wildfires of note, which are either highly visible or pose a threat to communities:

Tumbler Ridge Fire

The blaze, sparked by lightning and discovered on Tuesday, is burning out of control and is estimated at 9,600 hectares. The BC Wildfire Service said Thursday that the fire has seen “aggressive growth” over the past 24 hours, reports CTV News Canada.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, flames will be fanned due to easterly winds which are preventing firefighters from suppressing the blaze from the ground and air.

Cameron Bluffs Wildfire

A wildfire burning roughly 10 kilometers east of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island has led to the shutdown of Highway 4. The Cameron Bluffs wildfire is currently burning out of control and is an estimated 180 hectares as of Thursday afternoon.

Highway 4 is the only major route connecting Port Alberni with the rest of Vancouver Island, outside of logging roads. According to the Ministry of Transportation, the closure is now expected to last beyond the fire itself, due to damage to the road and instability of the slope above the highway.

Donnie Creek Wildfire

The Donnie Creek wildfire burned about 136 kilometers southeast of Fort Nelson and 158 kilometers of Fort St. John. It is now estimated at 310,805 hectares, making it the second-largest wildfire in B.C.’s history.

As of Thursday, The Holman Creek wildfire has been absorbed by the Donnie Creek wildfire, which is now estimated at 344,725 hectares. The Peace River Regional District has canceled its evacuation order for the Donnie Creek Wildfire, and the area is now under an area restriction order.

Chehalis River wildfire

First spotted on June 3rd, the Chehalis River wildfire has now ballooned to more than 800 hectares, as it worsens the air quality across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. The fire is burning outside the Agassiz-Harrison area.

The BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) said Wednesday the fire is a “wildfire of note” and is burning out of control, meaning it’s continuing to spread and isn’t responding to suppression efforts.

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We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dear friend Karen Graham, who served as Editor-at-Large at Digital Journal. She was 78 years old. Karen's view of what is happening in our world was colored by her love of history and how the past influences events taking place today. Her belief in humankind's part in the care of the planet and our environment has led her to focus on the need for action in dealing with climate change. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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