As the weather warms up, people in the Cariboo Chilcotin are keeping an eye on the fire danger rating, which the Cariboo Fire Centre is slowly rising. This aerial view shows some of the area impacted by last summer’s White Lake fire as seen last week during a tour with the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Fire danger rating climbing for Cariboo Chilcotin

The CFC will consider whether to prohibit Category 2 fires, but in the meantime is asking everyone if they are doing any burning that they are following the rules.

The Cariboo Fire Centre’s fire danger rating is climbing, but not at an alarming rate, yet, said fire information officer Donna MacPherson Wednesday.

“We are looking forward to June to see what our fire season will be like,” she said.

Summer 2017 arrived with drought conditions after no rains in June, and when the lightning storm hit the province on July 7 the conditions in the Cariboo Chilcotin were ripe for wildfires.

So far this season, fires in the CFC have been fairly small, MacPherson confirmed.

There have been a few lightning strikes igniting single trees that crews have extinguished quickly by wetting the area around on the ground, bringing the tree down and putting it out cold.

Some holdover fires have occurred because of industrial burning done in the fall that smoldered underground during the winter and in the Plateau and Elephant Hill fire areas, which MacPherson said was fully expected.

Additionally, a number of dust devils have been reported by the public and investigated by staff.

Dust devils can occur in areas burned by large fires when the ground has burned so extensively that there is a layer of carbon and dust on the forest floor.

“When the ground is exposed to the sun it can create these whirlwind columns that can be seen from quite a distance,” MacPherson explained.

The CFC will consider whether to prohibit Category 2 fires, but in the meantime is asking everyone if they are doing any burning that they are following the rules.

“We ask people to be careful and respectful that neighbours are worried,” she added, noting it is vital people stay close to any backyard fires, keep them small and extinguish them completely.

The Category 3 fire ban imposed on April 23 remains in effect.

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