Wildfire forces 1,100 to flee in western Canada

The blaze started about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the Okanagan wine region in the residential community of Joe Rich, near Kelowna.

Wildfire forces 1,100 to flee in western Canada

World Bulletin / News Desk

A new wildfire forced 1,100 residents in Canada's westernmost province of British Columbia to flee overnight and the blaze was still burning out of control Friday, officials said.

Stoked by high winds, it caught many off guard, including one woman who told public broadcaster CBC that flames shot up trees around her while she was out jogging on backcountry trails.

"The fire exhibited aggressive behavior," Justine Hunse of the British Columbia wildfire service told AFP. "It's still out of control."

However, she added, "due to a drop in temperature and winds, the fire did not grow significantly overnight."

British Columbia chief wildfire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said it was likely human-caused.

The area east of Kelowna is heavily forested and the mountainous terrain is steep, making the fire difficult to fight.

The Okanagan Valley is Canada's second largest wine region, with nearly 4,000 hectares (nearly 10,000 acres) of vineyards planted. There are also several orchards.

A state of emergency has been in effect in parts of British Columbia since July 7.

Most of the nearly 50,000 people who were forced to flee have been able to return to their homes, but 3,800 -- including residents of Joe Rich -- are still subject to evacuation orders.

As of Friday, there were 158 active fires in British Columbia. Some 3,900 firefighters and support crews, as well as 200 aircraft, have been mobilized.

Since April, more than one million hectares of British Columbia forests have been destroyed by fire -- the largest area burned on record.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Ağustos 2017, 17:05
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