REVELSTOKE, British Columbia, August 20 (Reuters) – Canada is sending armed forces to tackle the fast-spreading wildfires in British Columbia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday, as the western province copes with the fire that has caused more than 35,000 people to evacuate orders.
British Columbia has declared a state of emergency and imposed a ban on non-essential travel to free up accommodation for evacuees and firefighters, and urged drone operators and others to Take pictures of the fire to keep it away from the rescuers.
West Kelowna Fire Chief Jason Brolund said he saw some hope after battling “terrible” fires over the past four days. He said conditions had improved, allowing firefighters to put “boots on the ground” and pour water to put out the blaze that was threatening the town of 150,000 people.
“Things are getting better. We finally feel like we’re moving forward, not backward, and that’s a great feeling,” Brolund told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Still, he warned of tough days ahead to contain the McDougall Creek fire.
Wildfires are not uncommon in Canada but the spread of the fires and the disruption underscore the severity of the country’s worst wildfire season, which some experts have blamed on climate change. .
Other fires, aggravated by severe drought, have been reported near the US border and in the US Pacific Northwest.
Just across the border in Washington state, firefighters battled two major fires, the Gray Fire and the Oregon Road Fire, which combined blackened more than 20,000 acres of forest and destroyed more than 100 buildings. architecture program.
In Canada, government officials urged residents living in evacuation zones to leave immediately to save their lives and prevent firefighters from dying trying to save them.
Officials have not released an estimate of the total number of buildings destroyed. Videos and photos posted on social media showed destroyed structures and vehicles and huge flames consuming large trees.
A company spokesman said Sunday that the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is owned by the Canadian government, and its expansion project, which leads to the Pacific Coast through the interior of British Columbia, are not affected by the impact. Fire.
The Coquihalla section of the pipeline extension, southwest of Kamloops, is the section closest to the fire zone.
“Underground pipes are typically buried several feet below the surface and are protected from fire by earth and the constant movement of fluids moving through the pipeline,” the spokesperson added.
The fires have depleted local resources and drawn federal government assistance and assistance from 13 countries. At least four firefighters died in the line of duty.
About 140,000 square kilometers (54,054 sq mi) of land, roughly the size of New York state, has burned across the country, with the haze extending as far as the East Coast of the United States. Government officials predict that the fire season could extend into the fall due to widespread drought-like conditions.
THE SKY ON FIRE
About 2,000 kilometers to the north, an out-of-control wildfire in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, forced the evacuation of nearly all of the region’s 20,000 residents last week.
For now, the blaze is not expected to spread to city limits over the weekend, with some rain and cooler temperatures helping to slow its progress, officials said.
Krista Flesjer, who evacuated the city with her dogs, said it was a tough ride.
“I was afraid of being caught in a fire that was burning in the street,” she said.
For Flesjer, the main worry is whether her two-year-old new home will survive.
In British Columbia, the TransCanada highway was closed near Chase, about 400 kilometers northeast of Vancouver. The highway is a major east-west artery used by thousands of car and truck drivers heading to Vancouver, the country’s busiest port.
Kip Lumquist, who works at a gift shop in Craigellachie, a highway tourist spot, said she’s seen a lot of devastation over the past week.
“It was crazy. We couldn’t see hills, mountains, trees, anything, maybe (for) two and a half days,” Lumquist said. “I drive a white car, and when I step out to get in my car… it’s all black. … It wreaks havoc on the community.”
Reporting by Nia Williams; Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles Writing by Denny Thomas Editing by Mark Porter, Matthew Lewis and Lisa Shumaker
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