The sun is obscured by smoke from wildfires in the distance behind burnt trees in Williams Lake, British Columbia, on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

The sun is obscured by smoke from wildfires in the distance behind burnt trees in Williams Lake, British Columbia, on Sunday. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

Smoke spreads as BC wildfires scorch nearly 1 million acres

By Mike Irwin / The Wenatchee World

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. Satellite photos show a wide smoke plume flowing across most of Washington and extending nearly to the Oregon state line. Air quality and visibility on the west side of the mountains have also been affected.

In-state fires are also contributing to the smoky mix. At 7,000 acres, the Diamond Creek Fire in the Pasayten Wilderness and the 180-acre Suiattle Fire near Darrington are helping worsen the region’s air quality and visibility, but experts attribute most of the smoke in the region to the B.C. blazes.

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.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

News logo for use with stories about Mill Creek in Snohomish County, WA.
Police: Mill Creek man fatally stabbed wife amid financial woes

After quitting his job at Amazon, the man amassed about $50,000 in debt, triggering a discussion about finances, he told police.

Outside of the current Evergreen Recovery Centers' housing to treat opioid-dependent moms with their kids on Thursday, May 25, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$8M in behavioral health grants to benefit children, youth, families

Snohomish County awarded one-time federal funding to five projects that will reach at least 440 new people each year.

Penelope Protheroe, President and Founder of Angel Resource Connection puts together a huge batch of rotini with meatballs and marinara before heading out to distribute the food and other supplies on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, around Everett, Washington. ARC uses the Lake Stevens Senior Center kitchen to cook up meals for people without homes. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
She feeds Everett’s homeless; ‘no sit’ ban makes her mission harder

Everett banned handing out food and water in city-designated zones: “They just want people to disappear … be somebody else’s problem.”

Ashley Morrison, left, and her mother Cindi Morrison. (Photo provided by Cindi Morrison)
Everett’s ‘Oldest Young Cat Lady’ legacy continues after death

On social media, Ashley Morrison, 31, formed a worldwide community to talk about cats and mental health. Her mom wants to keep it going.

Most Read