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Northwest BC fire total tops last year
THIS SUMMER’S hot and dry weather has resulted in 94 wildfires as of Aug. 9, reports the province’s Northwest Fire Centre in Smithers.
That’s more than the 59 fires for the same time period in 2012, an indication of current conditions in the region, says Suzanne Pearce who works at the fire centre. Across the province, 1,045 wildfires were recorded as of Aug. 9, more than the 822 for the same period in 2012.
The conditions resulted last week in more burning bans.
Pearce also said two three-member initial attack crews were sent from southeastern BC last week, where conditions haven’t been as dry, and sent to Dease Lake north of here toward the Yukon border in anticipation of increased fire activity.
“What our crews are doing is concentrating on the southern half of our area,” said Pearce.
As of late last week, the largest fire burning in the region is in the Mess Creek area, close to Mount Edziza Provinical Park to the north, which was an estimated 1,500 hecatres in size.
It’s not threatening structures or communities so isn’t being fought.
But officials are keeping an eye on it, said Pearce.
“We continue to do aerial patrols,” she said.
There was a small fire danger reprieve the middle of last week when rain fell and temperatures cooled.
“That gave us an opportunity to reset our crews, get them some rest and have them go over their gear,” said Pearce.
As of Aug. 9, crews were battling a smaller 10 hectare blaze in the Kitlope southeast of Kitimat.
Officials did relax some burning restrictions Aug. 9, allowing fires in designated fire rings or pits at the Furlong Bay provincial campground at Lakelse Lake, at Kleanza Creek provincial campground and at the Kin Kiddies Kamp at Lakelse Lake.
Fires there will only be allowed from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Fire danger is rated “high” to “extreme” across much of the fire centre, and more lightning-caused fires are anticipated in the coming days, the fire centre in Smithers reports.
“As our crews and personnel face increasing fire activity from naturally-caused wildfires, it is imperative that preventable, human-caused fires do not add to that workload.”