Wildfire risk creeping back up in B.C. as warm weather continues

August 2, 2016

By: CBC News

During the summer of 2015, it seemed there were reports every week of wildfires burning in the province or warnings about how to prevent them.

So far, the summer of 2016 has been cooler and less smokey, but that could begin to change as hot weather has arrived throughout much of the province and wildfire danger is again creeping up.

“One careless mistake with a campfire or an improperly discarded cigarette could spark a serious wildfire and threaten B.C. communities and resources,” said Steve Thomson, the province’s forestry minister in a release on Friday.

“Play it safe this weekend and follow the rules. Remember that campfires must be completely extinguished and the ashes must be cold to the touch before you leave the area.”

The warning comes as many people in B.C. will be out camping or seeking adventure in the province’s back country for the August long weekend.

“With more people out in the back country it is a double-edged sword because there is a heightened tension for more human-caused fires to start, but on the flip-side there will be more eyes on the back country,” said Ryan Turcot, a fire information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service.

There are no campground fire bans in place in any of the province’s six fire centres, but fires need to be smaller than a half-metre high by a half-metre wide, while campers must also be prepared to properly put them out.

“It’s mandatory to have a shovel or eight litres of water available at all times so you can properly extinguish the fire when you are done,” said Turcot.

From April 1, 2016 until noon yesterday, the service responded to 603 wildfires, 201 of which were caused by people. In 2015, there were twice as many fires burning in the province at this time.

To report a wildfire, an unattended campfire or an open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or call *5555 on a cellphone.

By: CBC News

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