Crews respond to almost 100 wildfires in the Cariboo during the long weekend

Lightning caused 95 wildfires during the August long weekend, the Cariboo Fire Centre Wildfire Management Branch reported Tuesday.

  • Aug. 6, 2013 1:00 p.m.

There were a total of 95 lightning-caused wildfires during the August long weekend, the Cariboo Fire Centre Wildfire Management Branch reported Tuesday.

They included 22 starts on Thursday evening, 31 on Friday, 22 on Saturday, 10 on Sunday, nine on Monday and one Tuesday.

The majority of fires were small spot size — 0.009 hectares — and were quickly put out by firefighting crews, including local contract crews.

Airtankers, helicopters and heavy equipment also lent support. The biggest fire, 5.1 hectares near the Willow River east of Quesnel, is in mop-up stage.

Seventeen wildfires are currently burning in the CFC: 14 are in initial attack stage, three are in modified response and are being monitored. No values were at risk as of Tuesday morning.

The Central Cariboo/Horsefly-Likely region saw the most action with 30 lightning-caused starts; 100 Mile House saw 27; and Quesnel and Central Cariboo/Williams Lake had 17 each. The Chilcotin was relatively quiet with four starts.

“Unfortunately, there were also five person-caused wildfires—three in the Central Cariboo/Horsefly-Likely region and two in 100 Mile House,” the CFC noted in a press release. “The number of lightning storms and the resulting wildfires serve as a reminder that continued vigilance is required in preventing person-caused fires and lets the CFC/WMB focus its efforts on naturally occurring fires.”

During the weekend, a total of 25.5 millimetres of rain fell in Williams Lake, Environment Canada meteorologist Greg Pearce told the Tribune.

“You got three mm on Aug.1, 1.5 mm on Aug. 2 and 20.3 mm on Aug. 3,” he said.

Despite the rainfall, felt in various spots, the fire danger rating in the CFC is moderate with large areas of high in the region’s north, west and east, and pockets of extreme forecast for Nazko, Quesnel, Middle Lake and Tautri in the Chilcotin, Likely and Prairie Creek near Horsefly Lake.

Both the campfire ban and open burning prohibition remain in effect.

To report a wildfire or prohibited campfire or open burning, call 1 800 663-555 toll-free or

*5555 on your cellphone.

For the latest information on current wildfire activity, and open fire and burning restrictions, go to bcwildfire.ca.