This summer’s forest fire season is now officially upon us
After one of the slowest starts in recent years, B.C. forest fire crews are enlisting help from neighbouring provinces to battle a late-season surge of fires.
Most of the major fires are in the sparsely populated northeast corner of B.C., restricting the booming natural gas industry in the region. Yukon sent 79 of its firefighters to B.C. on the weekend, joining 20 from Saskatchewan and and 35 from Ontario.
Another emerging hotspot is northwestern B.C., where communities were warned Monday of visible smoke along Highway 16. A fire near Morice Lake was estimated at 1,200 hectares, burning within a park.
Near the Yukon border, 20 firefighters worked on the west and south flanks of a 3,500-hectare fire north of Dease Lake. In addition to the two large fires, the Northwest Fire Centre had seven new fire starts Sunday, sparked by lightning strikes, and reports of 12 abandoned campfires over the weekend.
With hot weather through most of August producing high fire risk, campfires were banned last week in the Kamloops region. Other areas still allowed campfires as of Monday, but brush and stubble burning and other open fires are banned in most areas of the province.
In the Kootenay region, the Brewer Creek fire south of Invermere was estimated at 30 hectares Monday. Started by lightning, the fire had 22 firefighters, three helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment assigned to contain it.
A 56-hectare fire on Skimmer Horn Mountain near the U.S. border was reported contained by Monday.
The fire danger rating is high across most of the province with pockets of extremely dry conditions across the north, the western Interior and the Okanagan-Similkameen regions.