Heat stokes 3 large wildfires

A provincewide heat wave in British Columbia is expected to hit record highs in the coming days, heightening concerns about wildfires.

Navi Saini (SANI) of the BC Wildfire Management Branch says there are 45 wildfires across the province, with three fires expected to take days to put out.

In north BC, near the Alberta border, 120 firefighters and 11 helicopters are battling a 45-square-kilometre blaze close to Tumbler Ridge that was sparked last Sunday.

Saini says there have been no casualties, but an evacuation order has been issued to 200 people in three nearby oil and gas camps.

Forty-one firefighters and six helicopters are trying to put out a four-square-kilometre fire near Quesnel, in the North Cariboo region which started Tuesday.

Twenty firefighters are battling a 10-square-kilometre blaze in north BC near Williston Lake that started Thursday.

Forest firefighters are also responding to a fire near Vernon by Sugar Lake.

Environment Canada says temperatures are expected to hit record highs in the south coast of the province this weekend.

David Wray, a meteorologist with the agency, says temperatures in the southern half of the province appear to be 10 to 11 C above normal for the time of year.

Wray says it is 8 to 10 C above normal for the northern half of BC where temperatures will likely break records next week.

Temperatures are averaging at 30 C or more provincewide.

Wray says it is important to wear sunscreen this weekend because it will only take about 15 minutes for skin to get burned.

He says children or pets should not be left in cars, and people should drink plenty of water.

Vancouver Coastal Health, one of the Lower Mainland's health authorities, says there has not been any word of increases in patients suffering from heatstroke.


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