Fire crews battling flames in Alberta

Wildfires draw firefighters from around the country

Coastal Fire Centre crews practised their skills at the Qualicum Beach Airport last month.

Coastal Fire Centre crews practised their skills at the Qualicum Beach Airport last month.

As of Thursday the Coastal Fire Centre has 128 firefighters in action outside B.C., mostly in the area of Slave Lake, Alberta, including 23 from the mid-Island region.

The Coastal Fire Centre is based in Parksville and covers the entire southwest corner of the province including the Lower Mainland inland to the Coquihalla toll booths and north almost to Kitimat.

CFC fire information officer Donna MacPherson explained there’s a regular trickle of individuals back and forth so the numbers change daily, but they are making sure to keep enough crews in the region to deal with any fires here.

So far this season there have been seven wildfires in the CFC, none in the Parksville Qualicum Beach areas and only one of note — in the Squamish area — which is now out.

She said conditions are good right now, with the fire danger rating at low, but with hot weather forecast this weekend things can change.

MacPherson pointed out it doesn’t even take direct sunlight to dry out the fine fuels in the forest. 

Low humidity and a breeze can dry things out considerably and change conditions in days.

Category 2 open fires, such as backyard burning are currently banned, including local areas and municipalities where it isn’t normally permitted at this time of year.

writer@pqbnews.com