Smoky skies greeted central B.C. on Monday morning as firefighters began another week trying to bring wildfires across the region under control.
There’s no rain in the forecast for the next few days, but Environment Canada is cautioning people throughout the Interior and as far east as Saskatchewan about poor air quality due to wildfire smoke.
But temperatures are expected to be a little cooler Monday, with highs in the low 20s for the hard-hit cities of Williams Lake, Quesnel and 100 Mile House.
The entire city of Williams Lake was evacuated on the weekend, but a few residents have stuck around to help fight the fires closing in on the outskirts.
Tim Menning runs a timber company in town, and said he’s been getting by on bologna sandwiches for the past few days as he helps with the battle.
“It’s virtually every logging outfit that has stayed behind … to help fight the fires,” Menning said.
There have been some tough days, with winds whipping up the flames and little progress made in the battle, but conditions were better on Sunday.
“We had a good day yesterday, and today is shaping up OK,” Menning said.
Thousands out of homes
More than 40,000 people have fled their homes, and another 20,000 are on evacuation alert.
More than a dozen of the more than 160 wildfires burning through south and central B.C. are threatening communities. The largest fire, near Ashcroft, was last estimated at more than 42,300 hectares in size.
With news of new evacuation orders and alerts coming in virtually nonstop for the last 10 days, there are signs of fatigue among those trying to help evacuees.
At the Kamloops evacuation reception centre on Sunday afternoon, volunteer Joel Gaudet was feeling worn out after working through the night.
“I’ve taken a couple of breaks,” he said.
“We’re still screaming for people to help out here, so I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon.”
Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. – Deuteronomy 28:6