The fire danger rating is forecast to rise this week for all areas in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, the Cariboo Fire Centre said Monday.
“The current fire danger rating for the CFC is mixed: Low in the southeast part of the region, moderate in the central and northeast, and high in the west, with pockets of extreme near Middle Lake, Tatla Lake, Puntzi Mountain and Riske Creek in the Chilcotin,” the CFC noted in a press release.
Last weekend four new small lightning-caused wildfires occurred, all holdovers that re-ignited with the warm, dry weather.
There were new starts in the Quesnel Zone (Pelican Lake area; 0.7 hectares) and Williams Lake-Central Cariboo Zone (Jones Lake, east of Highway 97; 0.009 ha) on Saturday, and Quesnel Zone (island in Maud Lake; 0.5 ha) and Chilcotin Zone (20 kilometres south of Hanceville/Lee’s Corner; 0.2 ha) on Sunday.
Three of the wildfires are still in initial attack stage as of Monday morning. The Jones Lake fire is in patrol status.
Currently there are a total of eight wildfires burning in the Cariboo Fire Centre: three from the weekend, and five from August that are in modified response status.
Modified response status means the Wildfire Management Branch is monitoring these wildfires but not suppressing them, due to the ecological benefits of naturally occurring fires as well as their remote locations.
There are two modified response fires in Bowron Lake Provincial Park (Isaac Lake; 49 ha/Indianpoint Lake; 2.7 ha) and one in Ts’yl-os Provincial Park (Chilko Lake; 2 ha). These fires may be visible to park visitors and people in the area may also be able to smell smoke.
The CFC/WMB is working in co-operation with BC Parks to manage these fires.
The other two Modified Response fires (Niagra River Valley; 43 ha/Summit Lake 3 ha) are in remote locations in Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park. Fire is a natural process in the Cariboo-Chilcotin’s environment. It helps maintain a healthy forest and a diversity of plant and animal habitat.
The CFC/WMB is using patrol flights to monitor the modified response wildfires and check the region for more lightning-strike holdover fires.
So far a total of 316 wildfires have burned 2,498 hectares in the Cariboo Fire Centre this season, up slightly from 2012 when a total of 41 wildfires burned 126 hectares.
“It was below average, but then the average was skewed by 2010,” CFC fire information officer Greig Bethel said.
Of those 316 wildfires in 2013, 267 were lightning-caused and 69 were person-caused.