BRITISH Columbians should remain alert to the threat of wildfire throughout August as conditions remain hot and dry, the Province advised on Thursday.
Seasonal and above seasonal temperatures forecast for the second half of summer will sustain current wildfire activity. New wildfire starts are anticipated. However, the BC Wildfire Service remains adequately resourced and prepared to activate additional resources if required.
During the past seven days, there were 154 new fires. The majority of these – 121 – are being held, are out or are under control. Nearly three-quarters of these new fires – 112 – were caused by lightning.
As of August 3, there were 91 active wildfires throughout the province. Six are wildfires of note. Four of the wildfires of note are located in the Kamloops Fire Centre Region and two are in the Southeast Fire Centre Region. A wildfire of note is one that is especially visible or poses a threat to public safety.
This year, 528 wildfires have burned a total of 22,000 hectares in B.C.
“As the risk of wildfires has increased significantly in the last several weeks, I urge all British Columbians to plan, prepare and stay informed of the wildfire situation in the area you are in,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “I also want to thank all those who are hard at work responding to wildfires and supporting those on the fire lines in all corners of the province.”
British Columbians are urged to exercise caution, stay informed, be prepared and remain vigilant to help prevent wildfires caused by humans.
“As the summer progresses and the wildfire danger continues to increase, people in B.C. should stay informed of wildfire activities around their community and anywhere they plan to travel,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “I encourage everyone to follow directions from your First Nation or local authority, and be prepared in case of evacuation, including thinking about friends and family who may be able to provide shelter and support.”
Residents of an area affected by wildfire smoke should be aware that smoke conditions and local air quality can change due to the unpredictable nature of fires. Check local air-quality reports, reduce the amount of time spent outdoors, stay hydrated and avoid outdoor activities. When indoors, keep the air clean with windows and doors closed. Do not smoke, burn candles or incense, or use fireplaces. Do not vacuum. When travelling in a vehicle, keep windows closed, with air conditioning set to recirculate.
If there is a fire in your community, call (toll-free) 1 800 663-5555 (or *5555 from a cellphone) or use the Report of Fire function on the BC Wildfire Service app as soon as possible. Information from the public is crucial to the effectiveness of the BC Wildfire Service’s response. Provide any information you can and expect to be asked details about the fire. If using the mobile app, submit with a photo. Reports with a photo will allow for almost immediate fire-behaviour assessment and can narrow the location to a very small area.
If you are under an evacuation order, follow directions from your First Nation or local government. You can self-register with Emergency Support Services (ESS) online: https://ess.gov.bc.ca/
If you cannot register online, go the Reception Centre designated by your local government or First Nation to register in person. By registering, your community will know where you are, and loved ones can find out if you are safe. ESS provides assistance for basic needs, including food, clothing and shelter.
E-transfer is available for people receiving ESS after being evacuated and registering with the online Evacuee Registration and Assistance (ERA) tool. To be eligible for e-transfer, people must log in to ERA online with their BC Services Card app and register.
This year, the Province announced $359 million in Budget 2022 to protect British Columbians from wildfires, including $145 million to strengthen the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC.
For information about wildfires in your area: