More Human Caused Wildfires This Year
Prince George, B.C. – Stiff new provincial fines haven’t helped decrease the number of human caused wildfires in British Columbia this year.
According to the BC Wildfire Service there have been 336 fires since the season officially began April 1 – 255 human caused, 22 lightning caused and the rest undetermined.
(134 in the PG Fire Centre, just six lightning caused the remaining human caused or under investigation).
At this time last year there had been 407 fires – 196 human caused and the rest undetermined.
Fire information officer Claire Allen admits she’s concerned by the increase.
“It’s definitely a concern, especially with new fines in place. We try to do as much prevention messaging as possible and really get the word out that with dry and warm conditions and increased wind speeds individuals need to be very careful with any kind of open burning.”
She says there’s no easy explanation for the increase though.
“Well it’s hard to say whether it’s an increase in human activity or just an increase in the kinds of conditions that lead to an increase in human caused fires.
“And we have seen an early and active start to the fire season but we’ve also seen an early and active start to warm and dry conditions across the province.”
Allen blames the early start on a number of factors including a low snowpack, low precipitation levels and warm weather right across the province.
As for the new $1,150 fine (which was more tripled from $345) for anyone found in contravention of an open fire prohibition; Prince George Fire Centre fire information officer Amanda Reynolds says tickets have been issued this year though she doesn’t have exact numbers.
Meanwhile according to B.C.’s Ministry of Environment, 10 suspected arson caused wildfires in the Peace remain under investigation.
To report a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.