The long bout of hot and dry weather in the Lower Mainland is sweeping the rest of the province and creating fresh problems for the BC Wildfire Service.
Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek says 21 new blazes were sparked yesterday alone thanks to a combination of lightning and careless campers.
“Many of them lightning-caused but unfortunately some human-caused ones as well. 69 fires burning as we speak across the province, but we do expect that number to climb looking at the weather forecast with continued dry and hot conditions. Not a lot of reprieve in the next seven days for sure.”
Tapping all resources available
Skrepnek says despite an air tanker heading south of the border to aid crews in Montana and Idaho, if the situation worsens in B.C., crews can be called back on one day’s notice.
“If we do need to bring those air tankers home, we can do that within 24 hours but at this point we’re handling everything with the resources that we’ve got available.”
He also says the good thing is most of the fires aren’t large enough to be considered threats.
“Certainly we’re keeping an eye on the situation, thankfully the fires we’ve been responding to have been put out quick and they’re nothing of particular concern.”
69 fires are burning in total in B.C., which BC Wildfire Services makes available for monitoring through an interactive map.
While the province has managed to get through the summer relatively unscathed, Skrepnek says there’s still plenty of time for the fire season to go off the rails.
“Certainly our concern with that is people are getting complacent. August is usually our busiest time and we’ve still got some fire season ahead of us.”
Skrepnek says it’s not unusual for the fire season to drift until the end of September.