CANADA (Reuters) – British Columbians should keep an eye out for wildfire threats throughout August as conditions remain hot and dry.
Seasonal and above-seasonal temperatures forecast for the second half of summer will sustain current wildfire activity. New forest fires are expected. However, the BC Wildfire Service remains adequately resourced and ready to activate additional resources as needed.
There have been 154 new fires in the past seven days. The majority of these – 121 – are in detention, out or under control. Almost three quarters of those new fires – 112 – were caused by lightning.
As of August 3, 2022, there were 91 active wildfires across the province. Six are notable wildfires. Four of the notable wildfires are in the Kamloops Fire Center Region and two are in the Southeast Fire Center Region. A wildfire of concern is one that is particularly visible or poses a threat to public safety.
This year, 528 wildfires in BC burned a total of 22,000 acres
“As the risk of wildfires has increased significantly in recent weeks, I urge all residents of British Columbia to plan, prepare for, and be aware of the wildfire situation in the area you are in,” said Forest Minister Katrine Conroy. “I also want to thank all those working hard to respond to wildfires and support those on the fire lines in every corner of the province.”
British Columbians are urged to exercise caution, stay informed, be prepared and stay alert to prevent man-made wildfires.
“As the summer progresses and the risk of wildfires continues to increase, people in BC should keep up to date with wildfire activity in their community and wherever they choose to travel,” said Mike Farnworth, Secretary of Public Safety and Attorney General. “I encourage everyone to follow the guidance of your First Nation or local authority and be prepared in the event of an evacuation, including thinking about friends and family who may be able to offer protection and support.”
Residents of an area affected by wildfire smoke should be aware that smoke conditions and local air quality are subject to change due to the unpredictable nature of fires. Check local air quality reports, reduce time spent outdoors, stay hydrated and avoid outdoor activities. Keep indoor air clean with windows and doors closed. Do not smoke, burn candles or incense sticks, or use fireplaces. Don’t suck. When traveling in a vehicle, keep the windows closed and set the air conditioning to forced air.
If there is a fire in your community, call 1.800.663-5555 (or *5555 from a cell phone) (toll free) as soon as possible or use the fire alarm feature in the BC Wildfire Service app. Information from the public is critical to the effectiveness of the BC Wildfire Service response. Provide all the information you need and expect to be asked for details about the fire. If you’re using the mobile app, submit a photo. Reports with photo allow for an almost instantaneous assessment of fire behavior and can narrow down the site to a very small area.
If you are under an evacuation order, follow the instructions of your First Nation or local government. You can self-register with Emergency Support Services (ESS) online: https://ess.gov.bc.ca/
If you are unable to register online, please contact the reception center designated by your local government or First Nation in person. By registering, your community will know where you are and your loved ones can find out if you are safe. ESS provides support for basic needs including food, clothing and shelter.
E-Transfer is available for people who receive ESS after they have been evacuated and registered with the Online Evacuee Registration and Assistance (ERA) tool. To be eligible for e-transfers, individuals must log in and register with ERA online using their BC Services Card app.
This year, the province announced a $359 million budget for 2022 to protect British Columbia residents from wildfires, including $145 million to strengthen the BC Wildfire Service and Emergency Management BC.
Read more about Wildfire’s seasonal outlook: https://blog.gov.bc.ca/bcwildfire/august-2022-seasonal-outlook/
Information on forest fires in your area:
Learn more about evacuation orders: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-management/preparedbc/evacuation-recovery/evacuee-guidance
Register for ESS using the online ERA tool: https://ess.gov.bc.ca/
Learn what you can do to protect your home, your neighbors and your community: www.firesmartBC.ca
Stay up to date with real-time wildfire information via the BC Wildfire Services app. Free to download:
Apple (IOS): Download directly from the App Store (IOS): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bc-wildfire-service/id1477675008?ls=1
Android: Download directly from the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ca.bc.gov.WildfireInformation
Stay up to date on road conditions and closures: https://www.drivebc.ca/
PreparedBC is British Columbia’s one-stop shop for disaster preparedness information. For tips on seasonal preparedness, creating a contingency plan, and contingency kit contents, go to: http://preparedbc.ca