FIRES RAVAGE THE WEST

Posted on 07/10/2017 | About California

A province-wide state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia after dozens of new wildfires broke out on Friday, destroying buildings and forcing thousands of people from their homes. Transportation Minister Todd Stone says 56 new blazes sprang up on Friday alone, adding that wildfire activity is expected to increase with hot, dry weather predicted in the coming days, along with thunderstorms forecast for many parts of the province.

Stone describes the situation as urgent and says the “extraordinary step” of declaring an emergency was necessary to co-ordinate the crisis response and ensure public safety.

Evacuation orders have been issued for the communities Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Princeton, 105 Mile House and 108 Mile House, while other communities have been placed under evacuation alert, such as 100 Mile House and 150 Mile House.

A 15-square-kilometre wildfire raging about 200 kilometres northwest of Kamloops has forced as many as 3,600 people to evacuate.

John Ranta, head of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, says a seven-square-kilometre blaze near Ashcroft has shut down parts of the Trans-Canada Highway and has destroyed dozens of buildings, including at least five houses, 30 trailer park homes and two hangers at a regional airport.

California

Two major wildfires in California have sent nearly 8,000 people fleeing to safety.

Fire officials said on Sunday 4,000 people evacuated and other 7,400 were told to prepare to leave their homes as a fire swept through grassy foothills in the Sierra Nevada, about 60 miles north of Sacramento.

A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman said that fire has burned nearly eight square miles (20 sq. kilometres) and has destroyed at least 10 structures.

Mary Ann Aldrich said additional homes were destroyed overnight. An inspection team is trying to determine the extent of the damage.

In Southern California, some 3,600 people were evacuated as a result of a wildfire in the Santa Ynez Valley east of Santa Barbara. The fire sent hundreds of campers, including a group of 90 children, scrambling when it began Saturday and burned on both sides of State Route 154.

Officials also expanded evacuations around a wildfire that had destroyed 10 buildings in rural Northern California.

Arizona

In rural Arizona, fire officials say three homes were among 10 buildings that were burned. The wildfire there has led to the evacuation of the entire town of Dudleyville, about 100 miles (160 kilometres) southeast of Phoenix.

Oregon

A wildfire burning in near Summer Lake in south-central Oregon has destroyed a hunting cabin and an outbuilding.

Nevada

In Nevada, fire officials have ordered evacuations for a wildfire that is near the same area where another blaze has already burned for days. Officials said a dozen homes are threatened but that the situation benefited from having firefighters nearby.

Wyoming

In Wyoming, fire managers say good weather has helped them make progress fighting a wildfire burning in beetle-killed trees.

Elsewhere

In other parts of the West, evacuation orders were lifted in Colorado and Montana towns threatened by wildfires, while air and ground crews battled a growing grass fire in northwestern Colorado.