A grass fire sparked by a car fire Tuesday afternoon near 146 Mile south of Williams Lake is a reminder of how dry the grass is already, said Fire Chief Stan McCarthy of the 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department.
McCarthy said at 4:42 p.m. Tuesday his department was dispatched to the scene where a small sedan had caught on fire at the side of the highway and the fire spread from the car onto the nearby grass and up onto the hill into a property on South Fork Road.
“When we got there it was going pretty good with the wind,” he said Tuesday. “There were local residents there fighting the fire with rakes and shovels. With our help it was put out quickly. It was crazy to see how dry the grass was already. It seems a bit early.”
Lac La Hache resident Monika Paterson, who provided the Tribune with photographs of the incident, said she arrived at the scene before the fire department and other travellers assisting with putting the fire out.
“The heat was phenomenal, I could feel it through my vehicle windows,” Paterson said.
No sooner had the 12 members of the fire department with two apparatus returned to the 150 Mile Fire Hall when another call came in at 6:43 p.m. to attend a small grass fire at Williams Lake Indian Band.
“Some kids had started that one playing with fireworks,” McCarthy said. “We took two apparatus and 10 guys and got it out quick.”
With those two incidents, McCarthy is encouraging people to be very careful.
“It seems from what everyone is saying that it’s going to be a dry year,” he said.
Fire information officer Ryan Turcot said at predicting the severity of the upcoming fire season at this stage is difficult to do, noting while long term weather models may indicate trends over time, weather cannot reliably forecast more than a few days in advance.
“Weather models at this point are predicting slightly warmer- and drier-than-average conditions for the late spring season, and a good chance of a warmer-than-average summer,” Turcot said. “This doesn’t tell us too much about how severe the fire season will be though, as there are numerous other variables at play.”
A key factor to watch for, he added, will be the amount of precipitation that arrives in the late spring — also known as the “June rains” — the amount of precipitation we observe during that time will determine how dry the forest fuels will be heading into the core summer months.
“As for the spring fire season specifically, almost all of the fire starts at this time of year are human-caused and are therefore completely preventable,” Turcot said. “We’re reminding people to take the necessary precautions as they conduct open burning.”
The ministry announced there will be preplanned open burns in Horse Lake near 100 Mile House.
More info: https://t.co/ayNOUN6n0X
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) March 27, 2018