Slow fire season so far

However, things can change quickly and people still need to be careful when burning

The 2020 wildfire season continues to be slower than average and there are currently no active fires in the Northwest Fire Centre.

“The frequent rain and cool temperatures we received throughout June and July have kept the ground fuels moist,” said B.C. Wildfire Service fire information officer Cathy L’Orsa.

“This has helped prevent lightning strikes from starting fires and has allowed our initial attack crews success in suppressing the human-caused fires.”

She added they have recorded fewer than half of the centre’s average fires and roughly a quarter of what the Northwest experienced last year by this time.

As far as hectares burned, there is only a tiny percentage of what the province has seen in recent years.

So far this year, the region has seen 22 fires. Last year saw 81 by this time in the summer and the ten-year average is 51 by the end of July.

From April 1-July 28, a total of 47 hectares have burned in the Northwest Fire Centre. This time last year 2,820 hectares were already scorched.

While the weather has turned slightly and campfires have not been banned, she said people still need to be careful when having them.

“If anyone has been following the changing Danger Rating on the BC Wildfire Service app, they have seen our area progress from very low hazard, to low, and if this dry spell continues as is forecast, we are likely to see widespread moderate hazard with high hazard in some areas. Fuel conditions can change amazingly fast,” she cautioned.

“We have found a significant number of abandoned campfires in recent weeks and we want to remind everyone to completely extinguish their campfires.”

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this is a convenient year to have less fires.

“As far as COVID precautions go, we are lucky that our precautions worked and also haven’t been really tested. Provincially, we haven’t had any huge fires to deal with, so our adapted camp set-ups haven’t been deployed,” said L’Orsa.

Locally, the fire centre continues to social-distance and take every precaution recommended by the provincial health officer, with no disruption to their level of service.

“It has certainly been an interesting time of change and allowed us to explore new ways of training and collaborating. We are well-prepared to respond when the need arises,” she added.

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