Despite cooler weather and scattered showers in the region, the Southeast Fire Centre campfire ban is not expected to be lifted any time soon.
According to Fire Information Officer Fanny Bertrand, the public has raised question over the continued enforcement of the ban while the region lies under greyer skies.
“We put the campfire ban in place on July 3 and we’re getting a lot of phone calls about whether the fire ban would be lifted due to rain … [unfortunately], the amount of rain is not enough for us to lift the ban and it’s not going to be lifted in the foreseeable future,” explained Bertrand.
She added, “The weather is something we are constantly monitoring and we know that people love to have campfires, however, it’s just not possible right now. With the spring and summer that we’ve had so far of being dry, the rain that we have had is welcome and timely and has been helping to put water on some of the incidents we already have, it’s not enough to reset a campfire ban.”
This year, the Southeast Fire Centre has responded to 387 wildfires in the area that have burned a total of 2,106 hectares.
Most of these blazes were lightning caused, however, Bertrand said human-caused fires continue to be a problem.
Bertrand lists specific human-caused fire factors including recreational use, cigarette butts, abandoned or poorly attended campfires, shooting ranges, and heavy equipment use.
Industry personnel and members of the public are being cautioned to be careful in or around forests and grasslands, as person-caused fires divert resources currently needed for lightning-caused fires.
The fire danger rating is “moderate” to “low” in the majority of the Columbia region, though Bertrand said the rating is expected to increase in danger.
“We are entering a phase of hot, dry weather over the next week with relative humidity and heat so the rating is expected to bounce up,” she said.
For further wildfire information, visit www.bcwildfire.ca or the BC Wildfire Facebook page www.facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo to have questions answered live by wildfire representatives.
To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1-800-663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.