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Heat, winds heighten wildfire risk

August 19, 2016 10:57 A.M.
Fire hazard signs remind Kenna Cartwright Park visitors.

A hot, dry weather outlook coupled with strong, gusty winds has B.C. Wildfire Service preparing for more wildfire action this weekend.

“Given the weather forecast this weekend, the wildfire threat in B.C. will almost certainly increase,” said Steve Thomson, minister of forests, lands and natural resource operations. “I’d like to remind all British Columbians to be extra vigilant and follow the rules while enjoying the outdoors this weekend.”

While the season to date in the Kamloops Fire Centre hasn’t been as volatile as last summer, August heat has arrived later than usual. Campfires have been banned on the Coast and in the Central Okanagan, but they are still permitted in most of the southern Interior.

A fire at Cinnabar Creek on Okanagan Lake flared up earlier in the week but was fully contained by Thursday. Another blaze at the north end of Pavilion Lake remains active and has burned 2.60 hectares.

Since the start of the season April 1, there have been 873 wildfires, 403 of which were caused by people. Human-caused fires are completely preventable and divert critical firefighting resources from naturally occurring, lightning-caused wildfires.

The fire danger rating throughout the province is generally ranked moderate to high, with many pockets of extreme. As these ratings continue to climb, British Columbians are urged to do everything they can to prevent human-caused wildfires.

Category 2 and Category 3 open fires are prohibited in many parts of B.C. to help reduce wildfire risks and protect public safety. The use of fireworks is also prohibited in many areas.

Campfires can not be larger than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide.

Anyone operating motorized vehicles in the backcountry must also exercise caution, since the heat from an exhaust pipe — particularly in tall, dry grass — could easily ignite a wildfire.

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