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.

 

Just Posted

Group forms in Hope to respond to homelessness, trauma and addictions

Homelessness Action Response Table (HART) full of local, regional, provincial movers and shakers

B.C. man facing first-degree murder charge in death of Belgian tourist

Amelie Sakkalis’ body was found on Aug. 22 near Boston Bar

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by Chilliwack animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for both the shelter and municipal election

UFV hosts revitalized Literary Festival featuring some of its previous writers-in-residence

Taking over Mission’s festival, UFV hopes its Literary Festival will be just as popular

Friends and family remember Paul Kaji with a skate in his honour

Hope skater and community member passed away August 2017 of fentanyl poisoning

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Lower Mainland city calls for slower trains near popular beach

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

Most Read