Last week has proved to be one of the hottest weeks in a long time for the province and with record breaking high temperatures, the fire danger rating all across B.C. is at an all-time high.
At the time of going to press, the fire danger rating for Burns Lake, Grassy Plains, Houston and surrounding area was between high and extreme danger. Several places across the province are already experiencing the brunt of the wildfire season. Upto 90 per cent of Lytton for example, was destroyed by last Friday in a wildfire that engulfed the town completely.
During such wildfires, crews all across the province are moved to the regions where they are most needed at the moment.
“The Northwest Fire Centre (NWFC) is now moving into our summer wildfire season. This is the time senior wildfire officers are making decisions about crew placement based on current wildfire activity and weather forecasts. The recent heat dome most of the NWFC just experienced decreased the amount of moisture in fine, medium and large fuels such as forest floor litter, brush and standing timber, making it easier to ignite if the right conditions are present,” said Carolyn Bartos of the BC Wildfire Centre’s Northwest Fire Centre.
According to Bartos, an initial attack crew from Burns Lake and Houston are in Dease Lake preparing for wildfire response in the area of the Cassiar Fire Zone.
The village of Burns Lake has a total of 23 firefighters with 20 person Unit Crew and 1×3 person Initial Attach crew while the District of Houston has a total of 9 firefighters including an Initial Attack crew brought in from the Southeast Fire Centre.
The Telkwa Rangers Unit Crew, which is a 20 person crew, are deployed to Kamloops Fire Centre to help with firefighting efforts there. The Telkwa Rangers, who are part of the Bulkley Fire Zone departed the NWFC on Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
“As forests around the Northwest Fire Centre become more susceptible to wildfire, it’s very important the public is doing there part to prevent wildfires from starting. Right now most of the wildfires the NWFC has responded to have been human-caused and with the anticipated lightning across many areas of the NWFC we need to keep our resources available to respond to naturally occurring wildfires,” she said.
Currently campfires, category 2 and 3 open fires are prohibited. These were put in place last week to protect the public during this unprecedented heat wave we just experienced and the likelihood of more hot weather in the coming week, she said.