Smoke from the fire near Till Lake as seen from Soda Creek Road Saturday evening.

Smoke from the fire near Till Lake as seen from Soda Creek Road Saturday evening.

Twenty-five new lightning sparked wildfires kept the Cariboo Fire Centre busy during the weekend.

Twenty-five new lightning sparked wildfires kept the Cariboo Fire Centre busy during the weekend.

Twenty-five new lightning sparked wildfires kept the Cariboo Fire Centre busy during the weekend.

Wildfire Management Branch crews, airtankers, helicopters and heavy equipment were all used to action the fires, said CFC fire information officer Greig Bethel, adding there was one person-caused wildfire near the Gibraltar Mine area.

The number of phone reports received from the public allowed the Cariboo Fire Centre to respond to the fires quickly and efficiently, Bethel said. “They were mostly small spot fires.”

Currently there are 28 active wildfires in the CFC, including a 1,200-hectare fire in Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park, northeast of Anahim Lake; a 12-hectare fire in the West/East Twin creeks drainage, southwest of 70 Mile House; and an 11-hectare fire near Till Lake, west of Williams Lake.

Anyone in the vicinity of Till Lake on Saturday afternoon would have noticed the air action. For several hours there were planes flying north of the Till Lake recreation site.

“We started receiving calls about smoke in the vicinity of Till Lake just before three o’clock and then a birddog went out to do surveillance about 3:10 p.m.,” Bethel said.

The fire was then actioned with airtankers at about 3:30 p.m. and continued action until about 5:15 p.m.

Crews were on scene at about 6 p.m. and part of the unit crew from 100 Mile House arrived at 8 p.m.

The current fire danger rating in the Cariboo Fire Centre is high with areas of extreme.

Both the campfire ban and open burning prohibition remain in effect.

On Friday, Aug. 9, the CFC expanded its campfire ban to include all areas west of Highway 97 from the Cottonwood River north of Quesnel to 150 Mile House, including the Kluskus, Nazko, Chilcotin, McLeese Lake and Williams Lake regions, as well as the Chilcotin, 100 Mile House and Interlakes regions.

The campfire ban boundary, starting from the west at Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, follows the Cariboo and Prince George fire centres boundary east to Highway 97, south to 150 Mile House, east again along the Redeaux Lake FSR (2300 Road), and then follows the Central Cariboo-100 Mile House forest districts boundary to Wells Gray Provincial Park.

A map of the area covered by the campfire ban is available online,

To report a wildfire or prohibited campfire or open burning, call 1-800-663-555 toll-free or *5555 on your cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, and open fire and burning restrictions, go to  bcwildfire.ca

– With files from CFC/Wildfire Management Branch.