B.C. Day long weekend busy for fire crews; 94 wildfires sparked since Friday morning
VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's wildfire season is heating up.
There are currently 42 wildfires burning, all of which are in the southern half of the province, where the fire danger rating in most areas is listed as "high" or "extreme," according to the BC Wildfire Service.
"It's been a little busy," says Coastal Fire Centre information officer Dorothe Jakobsen. "We some good lightning storms blow through on Friday, which gave us 13 new lightning fires at least."
A suspected human-caused fire is burning out of control on the southwest side of Harrison Lake.
Video of the area shows a thick plume of smoke that can be seen from across the lake.
Jakobsen says crews are using heavy equipment and four helicopters to fight the fire, which is estimated to be five hectares.
Near Nanaimo, 48 firefighters and two helicopters are battling the 16-hectare Green Mountain Fire, which is believed to have been sparked by lightning on Friday.
The fire is of particular concern for the Marmot Recovery Foundation, because of the potential impact to the endangered marmot population.
"It's really worrying… About half a hectare (of the fire) is in the wildlife management area," explains Adam Taylor, the foundation's executive director.
Taylor says if the blaze is of low intensity, there is a possibility the marmots could weather it by burrowing underground, and the fire could clear off some brush and create better habitat in the future. If the fire is high-intensity, the consequences would be dire.
Jakobsen says for now, the fire is holding, despite the challenging, steep terrain.
"It's going to be slow going," she explains.
According to the Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre in Kamloops, there have been 94 new fires sparked province-wide since Friday morning.
Despite the increase in fire activity over the B.C. Day long weekend, fire information officer Karley Desrosiers says the numbers are still "below average compared to other years."
She credits quick reporting from the public, allowing spring into action and extinguish at least 50 of the 94 new fires.
Desrosiers says cooler weather is in the forecast for the next few days, which should give crews on the front lines an advantage.