British Columbians are being warned to remain alert to the threat of wildfire throughout August.
Conditions are expected to remain hot and dry, with seasonal and above seasonal temperatures forecast for the second half of summer that will sustain current wildfire activity; new wildfire starts are also anticipated.
During the week of July 28 to Aug. 3, there were 154 new fires throughout B.C. Nearly three-quarters of these new fires — 112 in total — were caused by lightning.
As of Aug. 7, there were 61 active wildfires throughout the province. Eight of these are wildfires of note, with four located in the Kamloops Fire Centre and four in the Southeast Fire Centre. A wildfire of note is one that is especially visible or poses a threat to public safety.
On Aug. 4, the province announced that so far this year, 528 wildfires had burned a total of 22,000 hectares in B.C. In comparison, by early August 2021 there had been 1,530 wildfires throughout the province, which had burned a total of 858,292 hectares.
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,” Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said on Aug. 4.
“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 or near 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 to report it.
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.