KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Officials are concerned strong winds today will spread wildfires that crews in British Columbia are struggling to contain.
Environment Canada says wind gusts of about 50 kilometres per hour can be expected across the southern parts of the province including Williams Lake, Castlegar and Princeton.
Fire information officer Navi Saini says officials are closelsty monitoring the conditions and winds could definitely make matters worse.
Late Saturday night, the BC Wildfire Service announced that Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, where a wildfire is covering 40 square kilometres, is closing to inbound traffic.
The service says the closure is a “proactive measure” because the park is accessible only by hiking trails and would be difficult to evacuate if needed.
Despite concerns about the weather, evacuation orders were lifted for 100 Mile House and Princeton on Saturday, giving thousands of people the option to return home.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was in Kamloops Saturday to announce the federal government will be adding to funds managed by the Canadian Red Cross to help the 44,000 people displaced due to the crisis.
He says the province is only in the beginning of the fire season and has already been facing a very dangerous and difficult situation.
More than 735 fires have burned through 361,000 hectares this season, costing the province $122 million in suppression efforts alone.
The Canadian Press