Wind fans B.C. fires, but growth of two largest blazes is limited

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. — Two of British Columbia’s biggest wildfires haven’t grown much over the past few days despite being fanned by strong winds.

Kevin Skrepnek of the BC Wildfire Service says the winds arrived in the province on Friday as forecast but weren’t as strong as feared.

He says there was some rain, cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

Skrepnek says the Hanceville-Riske Creek fire northwest of William’s Lake was no bigger Saturday than it was Friday.

The Elephant Hill fire also remained the same size and is now believed to be 25 per cent contained.

Both blazes remain out of control.

Skrepnek says that despite the rain, it wasn’t much, and 14 new fires were sparked since Friday including seven which are believed to have been caused by lightning.

“It still remains quite dry out there. Whatever showers we did see out there were sporadic and we are expecting another windy day today, unfortunately,” Skrepnek told reporters on Saturday afternoon.

Crews with the wildfire service work on a maximum of 14 consecutive days, Skrepnek said, but that given that it has been such a busy season and the wildfire service was involved in flood support in the spring, that maximum is being shortened when practical.

Skrepnek said the province has been hugely successful over the past month and a half in keeping new fires from becoming serious, noting the big fires they’re fighting now began in early July.

He gave much of the credit for keeping the new fires from growing to people reporting the fires when they spot them.

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