Due to a marked increase in wildfire activity in the Okanagan Valley and elsewhere in the province over the past week, B.C. Wildfire Service is again urging the public to be extremely cautious with any allowed fire use.
The Cariboo and Okanagan are two regions of heightened concern.
From April 1 until noon Thursday, firefighters responded to 936 wildfires, 443 of which were caused by people. So far this year, over 99,317 hectares have been burned by wildfire.
Human-caused fires are completely preventable and divert crucial firefighting resources from naturally occurring wildfires.
Over the last two weeks, several abandoned campfires were discovered within the Cariboo Fire Centre’s jurisdiction.
Anyone lighting or fuelling a campfire must fully extinguish it and ensure that the ashes are cold to the touch before leaving the site for any length of time. Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine.
Temperatures in the Cariboo Fire Centre are expected to cool over the next few days, but little rain is expected and unpredictable, gusty winds are in the forecast. When a campfire causes a wildfire, it is often due to wind blowing sparks or embers into nearby forest fuels. Keeping a close eye on your campfire at all times is crucial to stop it sparking a wildfire.
In 2015, three wildfires in the Cariboo Fire Centre were caused by abandoned campfires. So far this year, one wildfire was started by a campfire. With hunting and fishing season upon us, the recent spike in abandoned campfires is concerning. One human-caused wildfire is one too many, since human-caused fires divert valuable firefighting resources from naturally occurring wildfires.
Campfires and Category 2 open fires are currently allowed in the Cariboo Fire Centre, but Category 3 open fires remain prohibited.
The fire danger rating throughout B.C. is generally moderate to high, with some areas rated extreme. British Columbians are encouraged to do everything they can to prevent human-caused wildfires.
Campfires are currently prohibited throughout the Coastal Fire Centre (with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the area known as the “Fog Zone”), but are allowed throughout the rest of the province.
Category 2 and Category 3 open burning prohibitions are in effect in many areas of B.C. to help protect public safety. The use of fireworks and other devices is also prohibited in some regions. Detailed information about current bans and restrictions is available on the BC Wildfire Service website: http://bcfireinfo.for.gov.bc.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp.