Forest fire season starts early in north, Cariboo

49 new fires detected on Monday alone, but Forests Minister Steve Thomson says it's too early to tell how wildfire season will go

The B.C. government has added $10 million to its program of prescribed burning and fuel management to protect communities.

A rash of grass and forest fires in the Peace region has the B.C. wildfire season off to an early start this week, after small fires were brought under control near Burns Lake and in the Cariboo in the past week.

The B.C. Wildfire Service recorded 49 fire starts across the province on Monday alone, with 37 of them in the Prince George fire centre. There were evacuation orders or alerts in four locations around Fort St. John, with the largest fire estimated at 3,000 hectares.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson said Tuesday the activity is several weeks earlier than last spring, prompted by high temperatures and winds in the Peace region that have since abated.

“This is an early start,” Thomson said. “It doesn’t necessarily indicate what the long-term outlook for the fire season will be.”

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said the main forest fire season isn’t until July and August, and snowpacks and long-range forecasts for rainfall are not reliable indicators of severity.

“It’s not uncommon to have an early spring grass fire season in B.C., but certainly not the level of activity that we’re seeing in the Peace region and elsewhere,” Skrepnek said.

The province added $10 million to this year’s budget for wildfire protection and fuel management projects.

So far this spring there have been prescribed burns near Pemberton, Lytton, Savona near Kamloops and the Chimney Lake region in the Cariboo.

Thomson said the province has 1,400 staff ready to work on wildfires this season, with another 1,600 contract staff available and aircraft and other equipment standing by.

The Martin Mars aircraft based at Sproat Lake on Vancouver Island are not part of the ministry’s firefighting plan for the year, as other aircraft have shown their quick response and efficiency, Thomson said.

 

Just Posted

15 new mayors to take office across the Kootenays

Here’s a look at the highlights from across the Kootenay region in B.C.

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Why municipal elections are important

Voting helps shape our community

Director happy with referendum results

Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A residents voted in favour of the… Continue reading

Federal carbon tax rebates will exceed the cost for most people affected

Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.

New rules introduced to protect B.C. foreign workers from exploitation

More than 16,000 temporary permits issued last year

Vancouver Canucks’ Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after concussion

Rookie is back practising after being sidelined by Florida defenceman Mike Matheson

UPDATED: 34 rescued off whale watching boat in Georgia Strait

Tour company says vessel experienced some kind of mechanical issue

Pipeline opponents blast Trans Mountain re-approval plan

Environmental advocates, First Nations leaders say NEB review has same flaws as it had before

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Most Read