A wildfire was sparked in Monte Lake next to Highway 97 Wednesday. (BC Wildfire Service image)

Wildfire fighting costs hit $154 million

14 new fires started on Wednesday

The cost of the province’s firefighting efforts have hit $154 million.

Fourteen new fires sparked on Wednesday, chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek told reporters on Thursday, for a total of 148 burning across B.C. currently. Since April 1, 794 wildfires have been burning across the province.

The newest major blaze started near Monte Lake, southeast of Kamloops, on Wednesday. Since then, rumours have swirled over whether a thrown cigarette may have caused it.

RELATED: Monte Lake wildfire 30 per cent contained

“It does appear that the fire started fairly close to Hwy. 97… but the investigation is ongoing,” said Skrepnek. The fire currently sits at 150 hectares.

“I think the speed and aggressiveness with which this fire displayed yesterday speaks to just how hot and dry conditions are out there… and how quickly these fires can grow.”

RELATED: Hikers fined for campfire in Cariboo

Skrepnek implored people to take precautions and fire-safe their homes.

“There’s a lot of practical things that people can do that don’t take a lot of time,” he said. “Moving woodpiles away from their houses, moving propane tanks away, spacing out trees, cleaning out gutters… basically moving any potential combustibles away from the house.”

Emergency Management BC deputy minister Robert Turner warned evacuees returning to Williams Lake to be careful. Part of the evacuation order for the area was downgraded to an evacuation alert earlier Thursday, and residents were allowed to go back home nearly two weeks after being forced out.

“We would encourage people to be looking at the maps to ensure that their specific area has changed from an order status to an alert status before they would be making a decision to return,” said Turner. “For those who do return, there will be a resilience centre set up in Williams Lake tomorrow.”

twitter.com

www.twitter.com

Just Posted

Kwalikum Secondary student back from year in Netherlands

Don’t pass up opportunity to travel with Qualicum Beach Rotary’s help, says Taylor Hunter

Resident slam loud dynamite blasting at Cedar Ridge Estate development

Sleigh feels insulted by Mayor Lefebrve who failed to understand their suffering

RDN creates new service to fund INfilm

Regional district to enter three year agreement with film commision for annual funding of $50,000

Bowser school asks RDN to double funding for outdoor learning area

From $30,000 to $60,000 for Tulnuxw Lelum Cultural Learning Space

Collison slows traffic on Highway 19 in Parksville

Pickup collides with median divider in heavy rain

VIDEO: Parksville home to new film studio

Film studio just off Highway 4A

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

Rogue masseur arrested for sexual assault in Victoria

John Heintzelman, 65, is accused of assaulting a person at his former business, James Bay Massage

Summit will look at Vancouver Island’s economic interests

The Vancouver Island Economic Summit happens Oct. 25-26

Hey Amazon, the bid’s in the mail: Langford mayor

The City of Langford has officially submitted its bid to become the home of Amazon HQ2.

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Most Read