Province concerned about wildfires

By The Canadian Press
May 19, 2016 - 6:48am Updated: May 19, 2016 - 12:05pm

VICTORIA. —  B-C Premier Christy Clark is calling for a national forest firefighting strategy.

Clark says climate change is leading to more wildfires like the ones raging around Fort McMurray, Alberta, and B-C's Interior is also experiencing similar fire conditions this spring.

She says pooling national fire-fighting resources among provinces would be one way to attack the country's hot spots, along with working together to clear flammable debris from forests.

Clark says dry forests and longer fire seasons mean the problem is only going to get worse, and points out that this year's BC fire season was the earliest on record.

Meanwhile, the province is planning to lower its criteria for imposing camp fire bans this summer, in an effort to prevent forest fires.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson says he'll move quicker to issue camp fire bans in what's already a dry season.

Camp fires are permitted across the province for the upcoming Victoria Day weekend -- which traditionally marks the start of camping season -- but Thomson says campers should be prepared for more bans as the summer goes on.

Penalties for violating the bans range from fines of 345 dollars to 100-thousand dollars and one year in jail.

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