Wildfires prompt highway closure, evacuation orders continue to increase — B.C. wildfire update

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Wildfires caused the closure of an 83 km stretch of Highway 5 between Merritt and Hope today (Aug 16). The ministry of transportation is warning drivers provincial highways may close with limited notice due to wildfire activity.

“If you must travel on Interior highways adjacent to wildfires, make sure you are prepared for possible delays or closures. Travel with a full tank of gas, food, water and other emergency supplies,” reads a media release from the province.

The number of wildfire-related evacuation orders increased to 74 over the weekend in. A further 119 communities are on evacuation alert, according to the province’s wildfire update.

Nearly 3,700 firefighting personnel, including 480 out of province members and 213 aircraft, are battling 268 wildfires across B.C.

The provincial dashboard shows only one wildfire on Vancouver Island. The 32-hectare Copper Canyon fire near Duncan, burning since Aug. 5, is not considered out of control.

The air quality alert issued by Environment Canada for east Vancouver Island was lifted today.

Across B.C., there are 6,607 properties under evacuation order and 16,022 on alert, according to the province’s wildfire update.

Since April 1, the province has recorded 1,511 wildfires, which have burned over 766,000 hectares of land. It estimates 489, just under one third, were human-caused.

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