Warm weather could keep B.C. forest fire risk high
CTV British Columbia
Published Monday, September 3, 2012 8:21PM PDT
Despite a quiet forest fire season this year, the Coastal Fire Centre in B.C. says warm and dry conditions this month could keep the fire risk high.
“Our forecasters in Environment Canada say that September is going to be hot and dry, so we’re asking people to continue to be very careful out there,” said Marg Drysdale of the centre.
Although high fire ratings have loomed in the province due to intense heat, there have been fewer fire than most years.
However, there have been some close calls. A brush fire in Vernon on Aug. 14 burned within metres of several new homes. A week later a fast-moving forest fire near Clinton burned two homes.
The cause of both fires is still under investigation.
This year there has been just over 1,300 fires in British Columbia, consuming more than 52,259 hectares of forest.
In 2009, there were 3,064 fires and 247, 419 hectares burned. The cost to fight the fires totaled $382 million.
In 2003, there were 2,473 fires and 265, 053 hectares burned. This included the Okanagan Park fire that burned hundreds of homes. The province paid $371 million to battle the blazes.
According to the Wildfire Management Branch, 41 per cent of forest fires are caused by people and 59 per cent are caused by lightening.
“Our person-caused fires are catching up with our lightning-caused fires, so we’re asking people to be careful,” Drysdale said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Lisa Rossington