With the onset of cool and wet weather across the province last week, wildfire numbers were dropping. However, lightning activity in the southern and southeastern part of the province over the weekend caused wildfire numbers to rise again.
As of July 20, there were 209 active fires throughout the province. On July 20 alone, there were 60 new fires until 5 p.m.
The Northwest Fire Centre continues to caution all residents to be diligent with fire safety.
As of July 20, the fire danger rating for the Northwest Fire Centre remained “high” to “extreme.”
Areas north of Kinaskan Lake on Hwy. 37 had a fire danger rating of “high” with pockets of “extreme” around Telegraph Creek and Atlin. Areas south of Swan Lake Kispiox River Provincial Park to the fire centre border had a fire danger rating of “high” with pockets of “extreme” around Morice Lake, Whitesail Lake, Houston, Topley and Burns Lake.
A fire danger rating of “high” or “extreme” means that there is a serious to extremely high risk of a fire starting.
“The risk of wildfire in the Northwest Fire Centre remains high and will likely remain so until significant and sustained precipitation is received by all areas of the fire centre,” said Olivia Pojar, Fire Information Officer for the Northwest Fire Centre.
According to Pojar, forecasted precipitation expected for this week in the Lakes District may lower the fire danger rating for the region.
Currently, there are two active fires in the Nadina Fire Zone. The most recent one is located roughly at kilometre 30 on the Hannay Forest Service Road, about 45 km northeast of Burns Lake. The fire was reported as being under 0.1 hectares in size.
The Whitesail Lake fire, first reported on July 6, is still not contained. Since it was first reported, the wildfire has burned around 437 hectares within Tweedsmuir North Provincial Park, in the Quanchus Mountains area.
Pojar said the Whitesail Lake fire is monitored on a regular basis by B.C. Wildfire Service personnel and there has not been significant growth or activity on this fire in the past week.
She added that B.C. Parks has restricted access to the Quanchus Mountains area of the park, but the Chikamin Bay Rail Portage facility and boat travel to Eutsuk Lake remain operational.
The campfire and open burning prohibition remains in effect, though it is re-evaluated on a daily basis. Members of the public can check the burning prohibitions in their area by visiting bcwildfire.ca or by calling 1 888 3-FOREST for up-to-date news on burning prohibitions, fires of note in the northwest, and fire danger ratings. As of July 17, there were 159 wildfires burning throughout B.C., down from 166 the day before and 197 a week before. As of noon July 17, there were three states of local emergency due to wildfire, and seven evacuation alerts or orders currently in effect. Approximately 96 properties in the province were on evacuation order with over 200 homes and an estimated 300 residents of Alexis Creek First Nation on evacuation alert.