Provincial fire centre keeps busy despite dreary conditions

By CFJC Today
July 20, 2016 - 5:52pm

KAMLOOPS — There is still no campfire prohibition in place for the Kamloops Fire Centre, and judging from the forecast, a ban won't be necessary for at least the next few days.

Last year, the province banned campfires in the Kamloops area on July 3.

Fire Information Officer Max Birkner says even though July has been uncharacteristically wet this year, this isn't the latest the fire centre has gone without a ban.

Birkner says we went without a campfire ban for nearly the entire summer just five years ago.

"They vary from year to year. The latest date in a wildfire season that a campfire ban came into effect was in 2011, when campfires were prohibited from September 14 to September 22." 

Birkner notes the fire centre has seen 94 fires so far this season, with about two-thirds of them caused by people.

"So far 62 fires have been human-caused, and only 32 have been lightning-caused. Human-caused fires are usually due to negligence, and are completly preventable. Human-caused wildfires divert valuable resources that could be used on lightning-caused fires."

While the weather over the last few days has been gloomy in the Southern Interior, the latest forecast calls for a change in that condition.

"The Kamloops Fire Centre is experiencing cooler weather at the moment, with that being said it does not take long for fuels to dry out. The Kamloops Fire Centre is expecting hot, and dry weather in the next 10 days, which may increase the fire danger rating."

Provincially there has been 544 wildfires since April 1, collectively burning 93,000 hectares. 

Provincial Fire Information Officer, Claire Allen says that's approximately half the amount of fires and hectares burned for the same time period last year. 

Allen says while firefighter aren't as occupied with battling blazes, they are keeping busy. 

"Our firefighters are engaged in training initiatives currently, with lots of chainsaw activity, keeping up with any kind of initiatives regarding that," Allen said. "They are working with local municipal governments if there's any kind of fuels management, and also doing any kind of project work throughout the province."

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