Over the Canada Day long weekend, 46 wildfires were reported and 35 of those were either held or out thanks to the public reporting them to the B.C. Wildfire Service.
Operations director Cliff Chapman said their call centre received more than 1,000 calls for the 46 fires over the weekend. The call centre, he said, is just one of B.C. Wildfire Service’s primary sources for detecting new fires.
“Don’t think that just because we had 1,000 calls for 46 fires that that’s too many – it’s not. We would have been happy with 2,000 calls on the same 46 fires.”
Chapman made the comments Wednesday (July 5) during an update on B.C.’s wildfire season, which has seen more than one million hectares burned so far this year. He said it currently ranks as the third-worst season in B.C.’s history.
He said getting 35 fires out of 46 either held or out is a “fairly good success given the conditions faced in B.C. at the current time.”
With smoke covering much of B.C., public reporting is crucial.
“There’s smoke in many of our valleys, especially as you go further and further north, and so aerial detection becomes very challenging for us because aircraft have to be diverted around the smoke. Legally they’re not allowed to fly through it because of visibility.”
Chapman pointed to the mobile app and the simplicity of being able to report through texting.
“Because when we’re filled with smoke in this province, really it is all the people that live here that become the eyes for B.C. Wildfire Service.”
People can report fires by calling 1-800-663-5555 or or texting *5555. There is also the BC Wildfire Service app for smart phones.