This was the first summer since 2012 without a campfire ban on B.C.'s coast
Published Wednesday, September 25, 2019 10:04AM PDT Last Updated Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:00AM PDT
A campfire is pictured in the Broken Group Islands off the west coast of Vancouver Island in this undated image. (shutterstock)
Campers pitching a tent along B.C.'s coast might have noticed it was a rather different summer from recent years as no campfire bans were implemented by BC Wildfire Services.
In fact, in B.C.'s coastal fire centre – which encompasses the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii – it was the first summer since 2012 with no campfire ban.
Wet and mild conditions throughout the summer helped lower the risk of wildfires this year, which was a welcome change after two record-breaking wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018.
According to BC Wildfire Service, there have been 786 wildfires in the province since April 1, with 156 of those in the coastal region. So far, a total of 20,950 hectares have burned.
This makes it a dramatically different wildfire season from last year's, when there were 2,117 fires and more than 1.3 million hectares burned.
During 2017's devastating wildfire season, campfire bans were implemented particularly early in the coastal region, on July 6. They weren't lifted completely until 73 days later, on Sept. 17.
But even though damp weather improved conditions this summer, BC Wildfire Service issued several warnings over the months, particularly after fire crews had to extinguish 32 abandoned campfires over the B.C. Day long weekend.
One fire near Oliver discovered in early August led to a week-long evacuation alert for about 250 properties, including a correctional centre.
As of Wednesday, most of the province is either listed as a "very low" or "low" wildfire risk and 17 wildfires of notes are still burning. Nearly 70 per cent of those were caused by lightning and about 90 per cent are classified as "under control."
All types of fires are currently allowed in the province, except for open fires in the Cariboo region.
BC Wildfire Service says the coastal fire centre also didn't implement bans in 2005, 2006 and 2011.