Vancouver’s air quality affected as several wildfires rage
From the air, the city of Vancouver looks like a normal, suburban community. But up close, the area feels like it’s been ravaged by a series of massive fires.
The city has been ravaged by a series of devastating wildfires in the past week.
The city’s smoke-filled skies were thick and smoky during the day on Thursday as firefighters from northern B.C. worked to put out another wildfire near the city’s north end.
As of Thursday evening, about 200 firefighters are battling two fires in the Cowichan Valley, which has prompted evacuations for an estimated 600 residents out of the town of Duncan.
Bryan Cunliffe, deputy municipal manager of Vancouver, said at least 10,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes.
“It’s going to be difficult for them to find housing to rent or find where to go,” he said.
“With an estimated 200 evacuees from Duncan, the majority have been on-site for some sort of assistance. The rest have been waiting for some sort of shelter. So it’s not been easy.”
Crews continue to work on the fire, which started burning on Highway 99 near the Duncan town line. (Bryan Cunliffe/CBC)
The fire started around 9:30 a.m. and quickly spread north and west of Duncan before firefighters were able to put the flames out.
On Thursday evening, a helicopter was sent to the scene to drop extra water tanks, while a wildfire crew cut trees, tore power lines and evacuated roads and intersections.
However, smoke is still visible over the city. It is causing a problem, and many schools already closed and will remain closed as firefighters continue to fight the fire.
The flames are considered too hot to get down to ground level, where they need to be for the crews to burn them out.
Firefighters still have a long way to go even in the best of circumstances.
“You’ve got to get it down to your level,” said Cunliffe.
“You’ve got to see the lines because that’s where the smoke is coming from.”
Crews are still battling the fire along Highway 99 near Duncan. (Bryan Cunliffe/CBC)
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An RCMP officer stands guard