What we know about today's B.C. wildfire developments - InfoNews

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What we know about today's B.C. wildfire developments

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July 16, 2017 - 4:12 PM

As B.C.'s wildfire situation continues to rapidly change, the provincial government is giving us a better idea of how many resources are going toward these blazes.

As of this morning, July 16, there were 162 wildfires burning across the province, with nearly 2,900 firefighters and other personnel battling the blazes, and more than 400 of those members are from out of province.

More than 200 aircraft are working on the fires. There are currently 49 evacuation orders and 23 evacuation alerts in place across B.C. About 36,000 people are on evacuation order due to the fires.

As for road closures, 15 sections of highway in six areas of B.C. are either fully or partially closed. Here's a full map and list.

The Ashcroft Reserve Fire is currently estimated at 42,300 hectares, while the new Okanagan Centre fire near Lake Country is mapped at 55 hectares and as of 11:30 a.m. it was 50 per cent contained, though retardant was reported around 80 per cent of the fire.

Since April 1, there have been a total of 641 wildfires in the province that have burned a total of 131,737 hectares.

In a news conference this morning, Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone thanked firefighters and officials for their work and acknowledged the hardship evacuees are going through.

"All British Columbians are with you, in fact all Canadians are with you as you go through this very difficult time," Stone said. "We are resilient and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure you get through this."

Provincial Chief Fire Information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the province has spent an estimated $81-million on firefighting costs for wildfires this year.

There are a number of resources available to evacuees including registering with the Canadian Red Cross. The province says this is crucial for evacuees to register, even if aid is not required, in order for family and friends to know the whereabouts of loved ones. It also allows the Canadian Red Cross to contact people directly as more information and assistance becomes available.

Evacuated households registered with the Red Cross are eligible to receive $600.

The public can donate to evacuees affected by the fires here.

BC Ferries is providing free ferry transportation on any of its routes for evacuees. You can call them at 1 888-223-3779 to secure your travel plans.

ICBC has put together a special claims service team to help evacuees. Each fire-related claim will be expedited and reviewed to determine circumstances where customers' deductibles and insurance discount impacts will be waived.

A health management service clinic has been put in place by Northern Health at the College of New Caledonia reception centre in Prince George to provide necessary care for evacuees. The clinic will operate daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and a registered nurse is available 24 hours per day. 

The First Nations Health Authority is offering services to evacuees like refilling prescriptions, medical transportation, medical supplies, equipment and eyewear, dental items, a crisis line, mental health resources, and traditional and elders support.

Interior Health has set up a call centre for families looking for information on patients who may have been relocated due to evacuations. You can reach them by phone at 1 877-442-2001 or by email at patient.concerns@interiorhealth.ca.

For a full list of where you can go for the latest and most reliable information, go here.

For a complete list of evacuation reception centres, go here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
InfoTel News Ltd

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