Fires Threaten Canada's "Napa Valley"

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9 Aug 2023 3:00 AM

Large fires are burning in and around the Okanagan Valley, one of Canada's top wine-producing regions roughly 5 hours east of Vancouver in British Columbia. The largest fires in the region are Rossmoore Lake, Lower East Adams Lake, and Bush Creek East wildfires. The fires are prompting evacuations and threatening wineries in the region.

The Eagle Bluff fire is burning along the U.S./Canada border, prompting evacuations and producing thick smoke in both Washington and southern British Columbia. Containment is growing on this fire which has burned over 16k acres in Washington and 7,500 acres in Canada.

Additional fires in B.C. that are extremely dangerous include the Horsethief Creek and Llander Creek Fires. According to officials both fires were started by lightning and are "uncontrollable" defined as "a wildfire that is continuing to spread and is not responding to suppression efforts".

The Nation is at a LEVEL 5 (the highest level) for wildfire preparedness, meaning the demand for resources is extreme and international resources are being used to fight fires. British Columbia is also under a LEVEL 5 alert for wildfire resources. The numbers are staggering:

British Columbia:

  • 1,586 wildfires

  • 3.85 million acres of land burned

  • 4,000 personnel fighting fires

Canada:

  • 50,482 square miles of land burned

  • 5,122 fires in 2023 (as of Aug 2)

  • 663% of normal fire activity

  • 325 NEW fire starts in the last week of July, 80% sparked by lightning

This compares to the U.S.'s quieter fire season, with 1,850 square miles burned in 2023 - only 3% of the activity compared to Canada. However, in recent weeks fire activity has been picking up in the Pacific Northwest and the United States' Fire Level is now 3 out of 5. Smoke from Canadian Wildfires has been impacting the U.S. all year, with more smoke from the latest fires drifting into the northern Plains of the U.S. this week.

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