Wildfires in B.C. and U.S. prompt haze, air-quality statements in southern B.C.

·2 min read

VANCOUVER — Haze from wildfires burning in Washington state, Idaho and the British Columbia Interior is expected to create smoky skies across much of southern B.C. over the weekend.

Environment Canada has posted air-quality statements for the Fraser Valley and a large section of southeastern B.C., while haze is also expected across Metro Vancouver on Saturday.

The BC Wildfire Service says a lightning-caused blaze sparked in northern Washington state last month now covers 70 square kilometres, including nearly 31 square kilometres that have burned in Manning Park, east of Vancouver, since the fire crossed the border last week.

Flames are within five kilometres of the Manning Park Resort, prompting an evacuation alert for 180 properties in the nearby community of Eastgate, but no homes or park infrastructure have been lost.

The wildfire service is also keeping a close eye on a suspected human-caused fire that broke out Thursday night just west of Hope and has charred more than 30 hectares of bush in steep terrain close to Highway 1, but is not threatening the busy route or nearby properties.

A separate blaze in northern Idaho is also wafting smoke across southeastern B.C., while small fires in the southern Okanagan and Regional District of Central Kootenay have forced evacuation alerts, but only the Manning Park fire and two in northeast B.C. are ranked as fires of note.

The wildfire service says wind and heat are complicating the fire fight in the northeast where a 132-square-kilometre fire west of Hudson's Hope and a 60-square-kilometre blaze southeast of Tumbler Ridge remain out of control, prompting evacuation orders and alerts for surrounding communities.

Nearly 200 fires are currently burning in B.C., with 77 reported in the last week, and the wildfire service says the majority have been caused by lightning.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2022.

The Canadian Press