More spring flooding, early-season wildfires could hit B.C.

The province is warning British Columbians to brace for more potential spring flood events and additional wildfires, with warmer temperatures expected later this week.

Several communities across B.C. are still recovering from natural disasters that hit last week.

“Fortunately, over the weekend, the rain was less severe than forecasted,” Bowinn Ma, the minister of emergency management and climate readiness, said Monday.

“Because of this, communities that faced challenges last week, such as Cache Creek, Okanagan Indian Band, and Grand Forks, can expect a period of stabilization for the rivers throughout this week.”

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Despite the less-than-forecast rain over the weekend, Ma says thousands of British Columbians remain under evacuation alerts.

“Approximately 50 British Columbians across the province remain under an evacuation order due to flooding, and just over 2,000 British Columbians remain under an evacuation alert due to flooding,” she explained.

Ma warns the upcoming warmer weather will contribute to a rapid snowmelt, increasing the chances of flooding.

A state of emergency remains in place for Cache Creek, and has been extended to May 13.

B.C. wildfire warning

Meanwhile, the BC Wildfire Service says, as of Monday afternoon, there were 62 active wildfires in the province — five of which are considered out of control.

There also three wildfires of note, all burning in the Prince George Fire Centre.

The situation regarding wildfires in the areas of Boundary Lake and Red Creek remain highly unpredictable and volatile.

According to the BC Wildfire Service dashboard, the Boundary Lake wildfire is an estimated 5,900 hectares, while the Red Creek wildfire is sitting at around 2,800 hectares in size.

Evacuation orders have been issued in both areas.

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Cliff Chapman, B.C.’s director of wildfire operations, says British Columbians should expect a rebound back into a moderate- to high- fire hazard in the next five to seven days.

“We’re going to see that hazard trend throughout the province, and a potential for wildfire starts is going to increase from really being in the north east. It will be widespread across the province.”

Some firefighters from B.C. are currently on the ground in Alberta helping in that province, which remains under a state of emergency due to fires there.

Officials assure that even if B.C.’s wildfire season starts early, there will be no shortage of firefighters, as measures are in place to ensure an adequate number of crews are available to respond to any potential situations.

The province is urging people to take necessary precautions by preparing an emergency supply bag, registering in advance for emergency services, and communicating with friends and family to establish evacuation plans.

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