Forest fire season starts early in north, Cariboo

49 new fires detected on Monday alone, but Forests Minister Steve Thomson says it's too early to tell how wildfire season will go

The B.C. government has added $10 million to its program of prescribed burning and fuel management to protect communities.

A rash of grass and forest fires in the Peace region has the B.C. wildfire season off to an early start this week, after small fires were brought under control near Burns Lake and in the Cariboo in the past week.

The B.C. Wildfire Service recorded 49 fire starts across the province on Monday alone, with 37 of them in the Prince George fire centre. There were evacuation orders or alerts in four locations around Fort St. John, with the largest fire estimated at 3,000 hectares.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson said Tuesday the activity is several weeks earlier than last spring, prompted by high temperatures and winds in the Peace region that have since abated.

“This is an early start,” Thomson said. “It doesn’t necessarily indicate what the long-term outlook for the fire season will be.”

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the main forest fire season isn’t until July and August, and snowpacks and long-range forecasts for rainfall are not reliable indicators of severity.

“It’s not uncommon to have an early spring grass fire season in B.C., but certainly not the level of activity that we’re seeing in the Peace region and elsewhere,” Skrepnek said.

The province added $10 million to this year’s budget for wildfire protection and fuel management projects.

So far this spring there have been prescribed burns near Pemberton, Lytton, Savona near Kamloops and the Chimney Lake region in the Cariboo.

Thomson said the province has 1,400 staff ready to work on wildfires this season, with another 1,600 contract staff available and aircraft and other equipment standing by.

The Martin Mars aircraft based at Sproat Lake on Vancouver Island are not part of the ministry’s firefighting plan for the year, as other aircraft have shown their quick response and efficiency, Thomson said.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Parksville soccer player invited to elite soccer academy in Portugal

Wylee Frank aspires to become a professional player

Regional District of Nanaimo to start delivering new garbage bins

Updated automated curbside collection service set to get underway Oct. 1

Qualicum Beach volunteer Mark Watson honoured for 30 years of service at fire hall

‘He has such a good spirit in everything that he does’

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Comox’s Kassidy Stewart takes Miss Teen BC title

She is set now to compete in nationals this summer

Island Health provides Baby Beds for infants

A safe place for baby to sleep is key to reduce sleep-related deaths

Shopping resumes aboard Nanaimo ferry sailings

B.C. Ferries reopens gift shops on Queen of Cowichan and Queen of Oak Bay

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read