Call for Folks to Stay Clear of the Back Country
Prince George, B.C. – As the long weekend approaches, and hunting season set to start, there are calls from the Rec Sites and Trails Branch of the Ministry of Forests, that the public stay clear of the back country, particularly in the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast Fire Centres.
“We are advising the public not to visit recreation sites in the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast Fire Centres over the Labour Day Long weekend” says John Hawkings , director of Rec Sites and Trails Branch “Visitors who are currently camped and using those recreation sites within those three Fire Centres are being encouraged to leave.”
He says there are already more than 165 rec sites, and more than 41 trails which are closed, most of which are in the Cariboo Fire Centre. Those sites and trails and all existing trails and closures will remain closed over the long weekend.
Campfires are already banned in the three fire centres noted, as is the use of off road vehicles.
The extra precaution of calling on folks to stay away from the back country comes as a high pressure ridge continues to build, and will bring more hot, dry conditions to the region that has been plagued with fires.
BC Wildfire Service Chief Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says while encouraging people not to head to the back country, the B.C. Wildfire Service is not taking that extraordinary step of imposing a full back country closure “We are trying to strike a bit of a balance here in terms of disruption but we do want to make it clear to people that given the weather forecast, it is going to be volatile out there. with that in mind, there’s going to be increased patrols by the Conservation Service, by Natural Resource Officers, Fire wardens as well, local police in certain areas, and not just around rec sites and trails, but across the board in terms of back country activities.”
In addition to the campfire and off road vehicle prohibitions in the three most volatile fire centres, Skrepnek there are also area restrictions around the major fires to ensure public safety and a number of forest service roads in the southeast have been closed “And there is ongoing assessment underway right now if we need to look at mandatory closures in some areas.”