Weather forecast concerns firefighters battling massive Canadian blaze

World Today

Smoke rises in front of the sun as a wildfire burns near Little Fort, British Columbia. Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Over a 100 wildfires are burning throughout British Columbia forcing thousands of residents to be on evacuation standby. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)

Hundreds of wildfires have been burning for days in Canada’s most westerly province. The flames have forced thousands of residents from their homes in British Columbia.

Entire communities have been burned to the ground.

As CGTN’s Phil Lavelle reports, firefighters are concerned about the weather forecast.

Eighteen-hundred firefighters are working around the clock in British Columbia. They are spread across hundreds of miles. But, they are up against hot temperatures and winds.

Towns like Boston Flats have literally gone up in smoke. There’s not much for which residents can return. Homes were lost at an Indian Reservation, too. Some pets died. Optimism is their only defense now.

“There is hope. I know everything looks black right now. But I know it’s going to turn green. We will make it a better place,” Ashcroft Indian Reservation Chief Greg Blain said.

Others have been evacuated or they’re under evacuation alert. Like the town of Williams Lake. The fires keep getting dangerously close to this place. Ten thousand people have to be ready to run any second.

Residents of other nearby areas are living each day as it comes. “I’m hoping to be home by this weekend but we hear other reports it could be two to three weeks, everybody’s just grasping at straws trying to get home,” Evacuee Chris Sonmor said.

There are hundreds of fires burning in British Columbia. Authorities said more than a dozen are out of control. And those are the ones which are causing the most concern.

Firefighters are having to tackle these fires from the air because they are completely inaccessible from the ground. The planes come down to the rivers, fill their tanks with water, then head back up and drop it from above. But, in some cases, they can’t even do that because the smoke is so thick in the sky, the planes can’t come down.

As the fires burn, the evacuation centers continue to fill up. More than 14,000 people are out of their homes. People are stressed, worried and angry. The Red Cross has been criticized by some who literally have no place else to go and they may be here for a while yet.