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B.C.'s wildfire risk expected to rise in coming days

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B.C.'s wildfire risk is expected to increase significantly in the coming days after a stretch of hot weather dried out parts of the province and lightning is in the forecast.

As of Wednesday morning, 115 wildfires are burning across B.C., with 21 new starts in the last 24 hours, according to the BC Wildfire Service. The northeast corner of the province remains the most active, but the fire danger rating is rapidly increasing across the south as well.

In an update Wednesday, BCWS said a cold front forecast to sweep across parts of the province could bring strong winds, thunderstorms and possible dry lightning.

The update said new wildfire starts are expected, especially in northern regions. Central and southern Interior could experience increased winds and isolated lightning too, however.

"The BC Wildfire Service is prepared to respond to new wildfires and increased wildfire activity," the update said. "Wildfire personnel are constantly monitoring and assessing conditions, and resources are stationed and deployed in alignment with heightened risk."

Dozens of fires in the province are classified as out of control, including the Hook Creek Fire burning in the northern part of the province. BCWS said the blaze, discovered on Sunday and currently measured at about 250 hectares in size, is displaying "Rank 4 behaviour," which means it's "burning vigorously with a fast rate of spread."

Campfire bans coming

On Tuesday, the province announced a campfire ban will be introduced across B.C. starting Friday as a result of the weather forecast. 

According to BCWS, the fire danger rating in the vast majority of the province is high, with pockets of extreme and moderate fire danger.

"Camping is a long-standing tradition in this province. The B.C. government recognizes that people also enjoy having campfires, so it takes any decision to implement a campfire ban very seriously," a notice on the provincial government's website says.

"Wildfire prevention is a shared responsibility. Human-caused wildfires are completely preventable and divert critical resources away from lightning-caused wildfires."

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Kaija Jussinoja 

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