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In the news today: Challenging week ahead for crews battling B.C. wildfires

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today... Wind poses challenge in B.C.
The Downton Lake wildfire near Gold Bridge B.C., burns in this recent handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...

Wind poses challenge in B.C. wildfire fight

The operations director at the BC Wildfire Service says firefighters are bracing for a "challenging week" as hot and dry conditions are expected to persist.

Cliff Chapman says winds are gusting from 40 to 70 kilometres an hour in southern B.C., making it difficult to suppress and contain fires burning in the region.

He says the conditions, coupled with steep terrain of fires, including the Downton Lake wildfire burning 110 kilometres northwest of Whistler, B.C., is also making it difficult to use heavy equipment and air fleet effectively.

Chapman says crews working on the Downton Lake blaze, which has already destroyed at least a dozen homes around Gun Lake, will aim to steer the flames away from the community amid windy conditions. 


Here's what else we're watching ...

UBC research blames bigger floods on clear-cutting

A University of British Columbia researcher wants the province to cut back on clear-cut logging and says more attention needs to be paid to where trees are taken down to help reduce the flood risk.  

A paper published by a team including UBC forestry professor Younes Alila found that when 21 per cent of trees were harvested using clear-cut logging, the average flood size increased by 38 per cent in the Deadman River watershed, while it increased by 84 per cent in the Joe Ross Creek area, both located north of Kamloops.

Alila says the landscape is a key difference in the two sites, with small lakes at Deadman River dotting the area to help mitigate the runoff of melting snow, but the logging around Joe Ross Creek is on exposed mountains that receive more sun. 

He says B-C needs to step back before it allows clear cutting of the forests and take a look at geographic characteristics of sites to understand the effects logging can have.

Tories ran on similar media policy as Liberals

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says Liberal legislation aimed at social media platforms is ushering in censorship, despite his party running on similar policy in the last federal election. 

The Online News Act will require tech giants to enter into agreements that compensate Canadian news outlets for content shared or otherwise repurposed on their platforms. 

Poilievre claimed the new law will make news disappear from the internet, and ban people from seeing news. The Opposition leader made the remark after Meta announced it will permanently remove all news in Canada from its social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, in coming weeks in response to the law. 

However, the Conservatives' 2021 campaign platform under then-leader Erin O'Toole proposed a similar policy, calling on tech giants to fairly compensate media for the content they create through an arbitration process. 

Police 'engaged' as video targets Indian diplomats

Ottawa says law enforcement is "engaged" after a video circulating online appeared to threaten Indian diplomats in Canada.

Public Safety Canada tweeted this week that Ottawa will ensure the safety of all diplomats in Canada, but the department would not provide details.

It referred queries to the RCMP, which refused to confirm whether it had opened a criminal probe or say which particular video was involved.

Some Canadian Sikhs who advocate for the secession of a region in India have claimed that New Delhi was involved in the June death of a preacher near Vancouver, though police say they have no evidence of such a link.

Justin Trudeau, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau separating after 18 years of marriage

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau have announced they are separating after 18 years of marriage.

In statements posted to Instagram on Wednesday they each say that "after many meaningful and difficult conversations, we have made the decision to separate."

"As always we remain a close family with deep love and respect for each other and for everything we have built and will continue to build," they wrote.

"For the well-being of our children, we ask that you respect our and their privacy."

They will share custody of their three children, Xavier, 15, Ella-Grace, 14, and Hadrien, nine.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 3, 2023.

The Canadian Press