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Gusty winds threaten largest wildfires in B.C. as crews work to prevent spread

Last Updated Aug 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm PST

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – The weather forecast calls for a cold front, bringing gusty winds to British Columbia that could inflame wildfires that had been stabilized this week.

Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service says two of the largest fires in the Thompson Nicola and Cariboo regions have seen little growth since Wednesday.

But he says the change in weather, which does not promise significant rain where it’s needed most, will likely make the fires more aggressive.

A risk of thunderstorms into the weekend will also bring lightning, which Skrepnek says can set off more fires particularly in the southern and central parts of the province that remain extremely dry.

Robert Turner with Emergency Management BC says officials are working to decide whether a provincial state of emergency declaration, which expires Friday, should be extended.

Skrepnek says four new fires started Wednesday but crews acted quickly and prevented them from spreading, unlike the major wildfires sparked in early July that continue to expand.

“I think it’s important to note we are still seeing new initial attack fires every day and we’re having a huge degree of success on them,” he said.

Although new fires have been less destructive, Skrepnek said people are still urged to prevent human-caused fires by respecting the campfire ban in place for most of the province, not using off-road vehicles in the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres, and obeying restrictions in the Cariboo backcountry.