The Williams Lake Fire Department responds to the first of three suspicious fires in the River Valley Wednesday.

The Williams Lake Fire Department responds to the first of three suspicious fires in the River Valley Wednesday.

Several fires keep crews busy

Members of the Williams Lake Fire Department were kept busy responding to several suspicious wildfires in the River Valley Wednesday.

Members of the Williams Lake Fire Department were kept busy responding to several suspicious wildfires in the River Valley Wednesday.

Fire Chief Des Webster said three separate fires, with the first starting at about 3:45 p.m., had to be put out by crews.

“There were no sources of ignition anywhere,” Webster said of the cause of the fires, noting it’s a good reminder to people of just how dry it is and that everyone should exercise caution when in wooded areas.

Webster also encouraged the public to report anything or anyone suspicious they may see.

That same vigilance is needed throughout the Cariboo Fire Centre, said Wildfire Management Branch communication specialist Emily Koch, noting all 24 wildfires in the Cariboo region that have burned since April 1 were human-caused.

“Some were caused by open burning getting carried away and a few others were sparked by people being careless with fire.”

In comparison at this time in 2014, there were 29 wildfires of which 28 were human caused.

Last week crews responded to  four wildfires — three in the Chilcotin during the weekend and one on Monday, May 4 between Williams Lake and Quesnel.

Koch also reminded the public of the category three opening burning ban that went into place on April 27.

Specifically the ban prohibits material concurrently in three or more piles, each not exceeding two metres in height and three metres in width; or material in one or more piles, each exceeding two metres in height or three metres in width; or one or more windrows; or stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 hectares or more than 2,000 square metres.

“All human fires are preventable so we are aiming for that,” Koch said.

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