Wildfire danger set to jump

Warming trend sets off warning about forest fires

It may have been a quiet year on the wildfire front in the Oceanside area, but campers and others planning to take to the woods this week are being asked to be extra careful as the woods continue to dry out.

Donna MacPherson, the fire information officer for the Coastal Fire Centre said the fire danger may be moderate now, but she’s expecting it to rise — and fast.

“The fire danger rating has dropped a little bit due to the precipitation we got Monday, but it’s starting to rise again. On our side of the Island we are in the moderate range, but we have a pocket of high that’s starting to build from the Nanaimo side north. The longer we have no rain, the bigger that’s going to get.”

The forecast, she added, calls for a drying trend over the next few days, with the next precipitation as much as a week away.

“It would take an awful lot of heavy dew to keep the fire rating down and we are not seeing that,” MacPherson said.

Because of the cool, wet spring and summer, MacPherson said firefighters have had a fairly quiet year to date, with less than a quarter of the fires they usually fight.

“That’s lower than the last 10 years,” she said. “As well, we have only had three fires started by lightning strikes so far, while normally we have 94 by now.”

However, she urged campers and others to take extra care this weekend, in particular with their campfires.

“If you are having a campfire, do it safely,” she said. “Pay attention to how you place it and make sure it’s completely out and cold when you’re done.”

 

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