US & Canada

British Columbia wildfires - over 1,000 evacuated near Kelowna

A helicopter flies over a wildfire south west of the town of Cache Creek, British Columbia, Canada July 18, 2017 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption BC is experiences the worst wildfire season in its recorded history

The latest wildfire to scorch the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) has forced the evacuation of around 1,100 people.

The blaze is about 20km (12 miles) east of Kelowna town in Okanagan Valley.

So far no structures or homes are believed affected by the fire, which broke out on Thursday afternoon.

More than one million hectares (10,000 square km) have burned in the province this wildfire season, making it the worst in BC's recorded history.

There are over 150 wildfires currently burning across the western province.

A state of emergency declared in the province on 7 July was recently extended to 1 September.

About 3,500 people in BC are currently under evacuation order and some 12,000 are under evacuation alert, which warns residents of impending danger.

BC has spent over C$375m ($295m; £230m) so far this season to fight the fires.

Some 3,800 provincial personnel, including frontline firefighters and support staff, are helping battle the blazes.

Another 600 out-of province personnel and 1,500 contractors from the BC forest industry are helping fire-suppression efforts.

According to Nasa, the smoke plumes caused by the BC fires and captured by the space agency's satellites "were thick enough and high enough in the atmosphere to break records".

There are currently no hard numbers when it comes to property and infrastructure damage caused by the fires

But the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, which provides car insurance to the province's motorists, said on 23 August it had received 124 claims so far.

On 1 August, officials said some 300 buildings had been destroyed.

Wildlife has also been affected by the fires.

Images released online and to the media by the Tsilhqot'in National Government, which represents six First Nations communities in BC's central interior, show the charred remains of wild horses in the Chilcotin Forest.

BC experiences up to 2,000 wildfires a year but the majority are contained within 24 hours.

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