Wildfires

Wildfires – British Columbia, Canada

More than 135 wildfires have scorched nearly 1 million acres in southern British Columbia to produce much of the smoke that this week blankets North Central Washington.

Some of that smoke has traveled 650 to 700 miles — from as far north as Prince George, B.C.— to affect air quality throughout NCW and as far south as Yakima.

A few details on the B.C. fires:

• Around 138 active wildfires in British Columbia — two dozen are substantial in size — have scorched 939,000 acres since ignited by lightning storms on July 7.

• Ten days after the initial lightning sweep, nearly 40,000 residents were evacuated from their homes in a number of B.C. cities. As of Wednesday, 6,000 people were still unable to return to their residences due to fire threat.

• Most of the B.C. fires are under 5,000 acres in size and burning in a mix of grass, sage and scattered timber. Larger fires include the Hanceville-Riske Creek Fire (333,589 acres) near Williams Lake, the Elephant Hill Fire (208,611 acres) near Kamloops, the Tautri Complex Fire (158,738 acres) near Williams Lake, a fire designated C10812 (88,908 acres) near Quesnel and the Chezacut Wildfire (29,652 acres) near Williams Lake.

• The area burned this year by wildfire in B.C. has hit a 56-year high. It pales, however, to lands scorched in 1958, when fire spread across more than 2.1 million acres in British Columbia alone.

Fresh Wildfires this week in southern France

French firefighters on Tuesday battled two wildfires in southern France, one near an urban area on the Mediterranean coast and another one in woodland around the small southern town of Cabris, near the perfume-making region of Grasse.

The city of Istres, west of Marseille, said in a statement that a neighborhood has been evacuated as a precaution after a fire started near homes. About 200 firefighters, three Canadair and one Dash planes and one helicopter were fighting the blaze.

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