Canada Wildfires Impact Ski Areas
20th August 2023
Last modified on August 22nd, 2023
400 wildfires are raging in the province of British Columbia, home to many of the main ski areas. Neighbouring Alberta is also affected by fires and drifting smoke. UPDATED
In British Columbia evacuation orders cover 30,000 homes, with another 36,000 homes under ‘evacuation alert’.
The Emergency Management Minister, Bowinn Ma, said officials “cannot stress strongly enough how critical it is to follow evacuation orders”.
“They are a matter of life and death not only for the people in those properties, but also for the first responders who will often go back to try to implore people to leave,” she said.
Kelowna is to the east of Vancouver and near the Monashee Mountains and is seeing some of the worst of the fires.
The nearby ski resort of Big White is taking in people that have been evacuated from their homes where the fires rage.
Locals are being advised to prepare for the fires spreading.
People in the ski resort of Sun Peaks are also remaining vigilant.
The ski town of Nelson, near Whitewater, is opening up its new camping and RV sites to people forced to flee their homes.
The Hummingbird Lodge and Campground is offering free accommodation.
The lodge opened in July and has 15 tent spots, six powered RV sites and four non-powered RV sites.
“The team at Whitewater Ski Resort and the Hummingbird Lodge hopes this can help alleviate some stress for just a few of the many people that have been displaced in our province,” the resort said in a statement.
“A big thank you to everyone that is working incredibly hard to keep our communities safe as we navigate the most challenging wildfire season to date.”
Canada is having its worst wildfire season on record, with at least 1,000 fires burning across the country, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, CIFFC.
Here’s more from West Kelona in British Columbia.
The main news images show the flames burning, but smoke hangs over large parts of western Canada in the Rocky Mountains and its surrounding areas as it often does in the summer.
Many people are keeping away from ski resorts in part due to travel restrictions put in place with only essential travel allowed in some areas.
Also many of the mountain areas are shrouded in thick smoke that is blocking out the sun.
Experts say climate change increases the risk wildfires.
Increasingly hot temperatures draw more moisture out of the ground – which means fires spread more quickly, especially if winds are strong.
No deaths have been reported so far.