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Storm expected in northeast B.C., amid ‘volatile’ wildfire situation

VANCOUVER — More information is expected later today about what officials in northeastern British Columbia describe as the “volatile and rapidly evolving” wildfire situation, as another storm brings rain, powerful winds and potential lightning to the region.

The Peace River Regional District says it will have updates on the vast Donnie Creek blaze that has charred nearly 4,660-square kilometres south of Fort Nelson, as well as the almost 200-square-kilometre Kiskatinaw fire threatening Tumbler Ridge.

Environment Canada says a system is sweeping across B.C., and will dump up to 25 millimetres of rain over the parched Peace River region, with thunderstorms forecast later in the day, followed by winds gusting to 60 kilometres per hour.

The same system has also spawned severe thunderstorm watches for a large part of southeastern B.C., a wind warning for the west side of Vancouver Island and special weather statements for most other central and southern regions.

That includes the eastern Vancouver Island area where the small but aggressive Cameron Bluffs fire continues to burn out of control on steep hills above Highway 4, indefinitely closing the only paved link to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming is scheduled to release more details later today about efforts to reopen that route.

The BC Wildfire Service says 77 active wildfires are currently burning in B.C., and with the exception of a small area of the Kootenay-Boundary region, most of the province is ranked at a high to extreme fire danger.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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