British Columbia

B.C. rolls into August without single campfire ban from B.C. Wildfire Service

After two historic fire seasons, B.C. residents have been breathing an anxious sigh of relief as cooler, wetter conditions earlier in the summer have so far not resulted in many wildfires.

Cooler, wetter conditions earlier in summer have so far not resulted in many wildfires

There are no campfire bans in effect across the province. (Shutterstock)

After two historic fire seasons in a row, B.C. residents are likely breathing a tentative sigh of relief as cooler, wetter conditions have not resulted in the summer wildfires many have come to expect.

With a few days of August behind us, the B.C. Wildfire Service has issued no campfire bans in any of its six fire centres, which collectively cover the whole province.

Some communities and municipalities have issued local bans, however, including many of the Gulf Islands. 

There is just one fire of note in the southern half of the province — at Richter Mountain, near Cawston — and no homes or communities on alert. Open fire burning is even allowed in the northwest and Prince George.

B.C. experienced two record-breaking wildfire seasons in a row in 2017 and 2018 in terms of cost and hectares burned. 

Smoke from those fires drifted into the southwest of the province, darkening the skies over Vancouver and causing the air quality to plummet. In fact, the only place in B.C. that has been completely unaffected by wildfire smoke since 2017 is Haida Gwaii, according to provincial data.

While spring was a busy time for the B.C. Wildfire Service, rains in June — followed by more in July — dampened fire activity.

At the moment, there are more B.C. firefighters active outside the province, than inside the province.

However, B.C.'s fire season often doesn't truly heat up until the end of July and there are clear skies and warm temperatures forecast for much of the Interior.

Climate scientists and health professionals alike have warned that changing climate means we can expect longer and more severe fire seasons in the future.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated there were no fires of note in the southern half of British Columbia. In fact, the B.C. Wildfire Service says there is a fire of note burning at Richter Mountain, near Cawston.
    Aug 04, 2019 8:06 PM PT

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