Smoke from above the Coastal mountains (BC Wildfire Service)

Campfire, off-road bans limited new long-weekend wildfires in B.C.: officials

Last week, the province banned the use of off-road vehicles in much of southern B.C.

Restrictions meant to help stave off new wildfires in tinder-dry British Columbia appear to be working as people enjoy the long weekend, officials say.

Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service said there were 127 fires burning across B.C. Sunday morning, but only six of those were sparked the day before.

With hot, dry conditions persisting throughout the province, the low number speaks to how people have reacted to prohibitions on off-road vehicles and campfires, he said.

RELATED: Campfire and off-road vehicle bans in effect

“I think generally people are getting the message,” he said. “I think that speaks to the fact that people are taking the threat of human-caused fires seriously. With conditions that dire, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to be getting dozens of new fires a day.”

Last week, the province banned the use of off-road vehicles in much of southern B.C., saying the prohibition was necessary to stop sparks or hot tail pipes from igniting extremely dry fuel in the forests and grasslands.

Campfire bans have also been in effect throughout much of the province for several weeks.

But one man in Williams Lake has been fined $1,000 for what RCMP have called a careless act that could have made the wildfire situation worse in B.C.’s already scorched Interior.

Williams Lake RCMP were called early Saturday morning for reports of fireworks being launched. Police said in a release that officers responded and found several empty fireworks canisters on a man’s property.

Police said an allegedly intoxicated 34-year-old man told the officers he set off the fireworks in celebration of returning home after several nearby wildfires forced the community to evacuate.

“It is careless acts such as this that have the real potential to trigger even more interface wildfires in the area,” Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said in a release.

Nearly 892 wildfires in B.C. have charred an estimated 5,910 square kilometres – an area about the size of Prince Edward Island – since April 1.

About 3,800 people were battling the flames Sunday and the wildfire service said their numbers will be bolstered in the coming days by more than 400 firefighters and support staff arriving from New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and the Unites States.

RELATED: More international firefighters deployed to battle B.C. wildfires

“Given the unprecedented nature of the B.C. wildfires, we appreciate the assistance our international partners are able to provide,” Forests Minister Doug Donaldson said in a statement.

The cost of the international help will be covered by the province, which has spent $230 million on fire suppression this year.

Chris Duffy with Emergency Management BC said Sunday that almost 7,000 people remain displaced from their homes by the flames, while another 26,000 have been warned that they may need to leave at a moment’s notice.

Some residents of communities put on evacuation orders and alerts have questioned the process, criticizing how much information is being released via social media versus other methods.

Duffy said the internet are tools that can be used to inform people and he encourages people to use as many tools as possible as the fire season.

“Given how dynamic the situation is, I would recommend using as many of those as possible,” he said.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

B.C. wildfires 2017

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RC Cotton bridge officially open to the public

The bridge is now accessible 24/7 by lakecity residents looking to use the trails

Lodge owner in Tsilhqot’in declared title area wants to be bought out for fair price

Hausi Wittwer has operated the Chilko River Lodge for 21 years

Cariboo police forces recover truck, Bobcat and trailer stolen from Quesnel

A 100 Mile House resident was arrested after trying to flee a police roadblock near Wildwood

B.C. budget ‘not friendly’: Cariboo Chilcotin MLA

As critic of rural development, Donna Barnett said she sees nothing in the budget for rural B.C.

Council receives three possible Secwepemc names for new bridge at Scout Island

“Looking at a bridge you need two strong sides, two strong foundations, to join together”

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Stories of sexual assault at B.C. tree planting camps ‘shocking but not surprising:’ advocate

Contractors’ association is working with trainers to create respectful culture

Most Read