It’s hard to believe with the cool and slow start to spring that the wildfire season is underway in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, but since April 1 crews have responded to seven wildfires.
“I don’t think people fully realize there is a fire risk right now,” Cariboo Fire Centre communications specialist Emily Koch said, urging the public to use caution and pay attention to weather conditions when conducting open burns.
Six of the seven fires have been due to the careless use of fire. Fires have burned 20 hectares so far.
“As this week’s incidents demonstrate, almost all fires that start at this time of the year are human-caused and are therefore preventable,” Koch said.
Spring burning can present significant fire risks even though it may seem like a safe time to burn.Moisture is present in the soil, but grasses can dry out quickly due to increasing temperatures and wind. Fires that start in these fuels can spread very rapidly, especially when driven by wind.
Wildfire Management Branch crews have responded to all seven of the incidents and the majority are now in the mop-up or patrol stage.
On Wednesday, 16 fire and first aid personnel were onsite at a 4.2-hectare fire one kilometre east of Lees Corner, near Hanceville.
Five personnel returned Thursday to patrol the fire and completely extinguish it.
Cariboo Fire Centre personnel also responded to a two-hectare fire on Wednesday night on the Tl’esqox-t’in (Toosey) Indian Reserve.
Local RCMP and B.C. Hydro staff also responded. The incident is under investigation.
By this time last year, the Cariboo Fire Centre had responded to three fires that burned a total of 25 hectares, Koch said.