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Rain ahead for Interior, but won't reach major southeastern fires

Last Updated Sep 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm PST

The Finlay Creek fire near Peachland, September 3, 2017. (Photo courtesy Denise, via @SUPokanagan on Twitter)

There are still 162 fires in BC and more than 4,800 people are still under evacuation orders

Province and feds pledge $20 million for farmers affected by the fires

KAMLOOPS (NEWS 1103) – As the worst wildfire season in BC history continues, parts of the Interior should see some badly-needed rain later this week, as a ridge of high pressure moves east into Alberta.

But Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service says those storms will likely be patchy.

“We are not expecting any of that rain to reach the southeast. And we’ve got a number of major fires burning in southeastern BC, particularly in the East Kootenay. Right now it’s not looking like this rain is going to reach any of them.”

Skrepnek says the southern half of the province is still under a campfire ban, and offroad vehicles are banned in the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres.

“We are still encouraging people across southern BC, Cariboo Fire Centre, Kamloops Fire Centre, and (the) southeast to avoid accessing the backcountry and any rec sites, given the ongoing fire hazard.”

There are still 162 fires in BC and more than 4,800 people are still under evacuation orders. Since April 1st, wildfires have burned 1.5 million hectares, which is about four times the size of Metro Vancouver. $464.6 million has been spent fighting the fires.

Federal and BC Ministers meet

Federal and BC Ministers have met to discuss the response and rebuilding efforts after the province’s wildfires.

Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay has announced an extra $20 million from the federal and provincial governments for farmers affected by the fires. He says more than 30,000 animals have been affected by the wildfires, and Ottawa will cover $12 million of the $20 million.

“It will help producers cover costs related to veterinary, transportation and housing costs for displaced animals. Feed costs, re-establishing feed facilities for the upcoming winter, labour for fencing, lost breeding animals, re-seeding of crop damaged by fire and critical infrastructure.”

Kevin Boon with the BC Cattlemen’s Association says ranchers were begins to feel abandoned.

“This will help these guys give them what it takes to start their business backup again, to get that structure going. What it really will do is build those communities back.”

Also discussed at the meeting was a proposal put forward by First Nations communities, which includes calling for $200 million so Bands can create emergency plans.