Map showing recent lightning strikes in the Cariboo Fire Centre region.

Map showing recent lightning strikes in the Cariboo Fire Centre region.

Lightning-caused fires keep crews busy

The Cariboo Fire Centre (CFC) responded to another six new lightning-caused wildfires during the weekend of May 29 to May 31.

The Cariboo Fire Centre (CFC) responded to another six new lightning-caused wildfires during the weekend of May 29 to May 31, said Emily Epp, communication specialist with the Wildfire Management Branch Monday.

“We had a couple in each of our planning zones. We discovered two Friday, two Saturday and two Sunday, but they were all small fires.”

Four of the wildfires have been put out and crews are responding to the fifth one located at the north side of Young Lake east of 70 Mile House and the sixth one at Bowling Point on the North Arm of Quesnel Lake.

During the weekend of May 22-24, there were 10 lightning-caused fires, with the majority of them sparked in the 100 Mile House area.

“We are seeing a surprising amount of lightning-caused wildfires for this time of year,” Epp said. “On average we see about seven, and some years it is much less. Last year we had one lightning-caused fire.”

The CFC expects during the next few days that it will be responding to small lightning-caused fires, Epp said, adding the centre is very appreciative of the public’s quick reporting so the fires can be kept small.

Air patrols are also done periodically over areas that have been hit with the most lightning to keep an eye out for any smoke.

The Cariboo Fire Centre has responded to 69 fires since April 1, 2015 — 33 of them were ignited by lightning.

Currently, large-scale Category 3 burning is restricted in the Cariboo Fire Centre.

With the increase of naturally-occurring fires, the Wildfire Management Branch is reminding the public to exercise caution in the back country and with all types of fire use, Epp said.