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BC state of emergency extended ahead of weekend scorcher

Last Updated Sep 1, 2017 at 2:51 pm PST

A wildfire east of Kelowna in the Joe Rich area (Screenshot: Twitter video)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC government has again extended the province-wide state of emergency because of the ongoing and out-of-control wildfire season.

The state of emergency will now be in place until the end of the day on September 15. Crews will then reassess the situation to see whether to keep it going or cancel it.

Crews battling wildfires are getting ready for potentially unprecedented hot and dry conditions for September over the next few days.

Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service says Saturday will be a very challenging day, with some gusty winds expected in certain areas. One of those areas is where the Elephant Hill Wildfire in burning near Ashcroft, which has grown over the last few days.

“We’re laying as much groundwork as we can today, to put some containment lines in place particularly along the northern edge of this fire. But we are expecting winds upwards of 40 kilometres an hour, gusts in the area of this fire, and that is certainly going to be a challenge.”

Skrepnek adds discussions are happening about whether to expand some of the evacuation alerts and orders already in place at the northern edge of the fire. Anyone with plans to be near this fire over the long weekend is being told to cancel them.

Meantime, the part of the Diamond Creek Fire burning in BC is about 2,000 hectares in size. That fire started in Washington state on July 23rd, and crossed the border into Canada on August 30.

Skrepnek says it’s burning in a relatively remote area near Cathedral Provincial Park and Manning Provincial Park right now.