Fire season heats up with unseasonably warm weather

By Jill Sperling
June 29, 2016 - 4:58pm Updated: June 29, 2016 - 6:43pm

KAMLOOPS — The unseasonably warm weather the province has been seeing over the past few days is expected to continue on into the long weekend - causing some concern for an increased fire risk. 

The heat has brought with it some unsettled conditions, and lightning strikes sparked the majority of yesterday's (June 28) 25 new fires. 

While most of those fires were small in size, Chief Fire Information Officer with the BC Wildfire Service, Kevin Skrepnek, says they indicate the fire season is beginning to roll in.

"Right now in northern British Columbia the fire danger rating is quite a bit higher than throughout most of the south, but certainly many of the valley bottoms in southern B.C., so particularly in and around the Kamloops area, the Okanagan, Fraser Canyon, we are already beginning to see some escalated fire danger in that area and given that weather forecast we expect that's going to continue to climb over the next few days," Skrepnek said.

As the fire risks increase, the BC Wildfire Service is cautioning people to be careful with their campfires, especially during the long weekend.

"Campfires are currently allowed right now in our jurisdiction right across the province," Skrepnek said, "so if people are going to be having campfires just make sure that they're small, they're attended at all times, they're fully extinguished before you leave the area for any period. You should always check with local authorities first if you're in a municipality or a city that could have their own rules in place.

"Beyond that, you know, when it's this hot and dry even the heat coming off of an exhaust pipe from an ATV or a 4x4 vehicle could be enough to ignite a fire."

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