Spreading fires threaten communities in south B.C.
Forest fires continue to threaten communities in southern B.C., with 2,500 people out of their homes in Fintry, on Okanagan Lake, and another 2,500 on alert to move in Lillooet, about 250 kilometres north of Vancouver.
The Mount McLean fire threatening Lillooet and the Terrace Mountain fire that forced the re-evacuation of Fintry both grew overnight, officials say.
"The drying every day, the dense fuels, wind direction, the windspeed, all of those things were working against us," the B.C. Forest Service's Suzanne van der Porten said Sunday.
The Mount McLean blaze, started by lightning July 22, now is estimated at about 26.5 square kilometres, while the Terrace Mountain, thought to be human-caused, grew by about a third yesterday and now is about 75 square kilometres.
It's almost back to square one for firefighters and for residents - many of whom had just returned home a few days ago after weeks as refugees.
"We're lucky we were all together and we got out," evacuee Jim Janew said. 'We can always replace anything we left behind."
It's the second time in two weeks Fintry residents have been ordered out of their homes - and the community is getting better at handling it.
A Kelowna church responded by quickly creating sleeping arrangements for 70 evacuees.
"I can see people coming in and saying thank you, thank you for giving us the opportunity to help," Candace Geisbrecht of the Trinity Baptist Church said. "It's what we're here for."
Crews had been gaining ground on the Terrace Mountain fire but hot, dry weather and winds combined to push it over a fireguard and increasing its size by 25 square kilometres. It is no just 30 per cent contained.
The 237 forestry crews in the area have watched an enourmous job grow bigger before their eyes - and there's no end to the hot weather in sight.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Kent Molgat and files from The Canadian Press