BC, Canada Residents Advised to Brace for Looming Heatwave, To Exacerbate Raging Wildfires

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | July 14, 2014 4:13 PM EST

Environment Canada on Monday warned residents in British Columbia, Canada to brace for record-breaking series of heatwaves in the coming days that could exacerbate the current raging wildfires in the province.

REUTERS/Jon Nazca
A helicopter drops water over a forest next to a burnt area after a wildfire at Sierra de Tejeda nature park in Competa, near Malaga, southern Spain, June 30, 2014. The wildfire forced the evacuation of 600 people from their homes, after two houses were razed, according to local media. REUTERS/Jon Nazca (SPAIN - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)

There are currently 45 wildfires scattered across the province. One in the north is threatening to spread into Alberta.

Environment Canada said daily temperature rates in the B.C. interior are expected to hit 40 C until Thursday. Currently in northern B.C., temperatures are already 8 C to 10 C above normal, the agency said.

"The hot, dry weather has definitely been a concern," Navi Saini, a spokeswoman for the B.C. Wildfire Management Branch, told the Canadian Press. "It's definitely hindering fire-suppression efforts."

The biggest fires are in northern B.C., set off by lightning and then whipped up by strong winds.

But the B.C. Forest Service is also cautious for the southwestern corner of the province, including the Manning Park area, which has been forecast to be hit by dry lightning.

"The danger rating in the province on the latest map shows a lot of red (for extreme risk rating)," Saini said. "And it's only expected to increase from here on in. We don't anticipate a break in the (hot, dry) weather for at least the next seven to 10 days."

Jane Park, fire and vegetation specialist of BC's park, said public access to some areas of the park have been restricted. "In the forest around here, given a little bit of wind, fire can move at about 25 metres per minutes, so it's quite fast," Park said.

An evacuation order has been given to 200 people in three nearby oil and gas camps, Saini said.

No casualties have so far been reported from the ongoing wildfires.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Jon Nazca / )
A helicopter drops water over a forest next to a burnt area after a wildfire at Sierra de Tejeda nature park in Competa, near Malaga, southern Spain, June 30, 2014. The wildfire forced the evacuation of 600 people from their homes, after two houses were razed, according to local media. REUTERS/Jon Nazca (SPAIN - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
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