British Columbia

Lightning sparks wild fires over long weekend

The number of wildfires sparked this weekend has pushed this year's total past that of 2012, with firefighters having responded to close to 1,000 blazes across the province.
The Perry Ridge fire, sparked by lightning on July 24, is 20 per cent contained. (B.C. Wildfire Management Branch)

The number of wildfires sparked this weekend has pushed this year's total past that of 2012, with firefighters having responded to close to 1,000 blazes across the province.

"A lightning system that came through the province Thursday is still starting new fires for us," said Kevin Skrepnek, provincial fire information officer.

Some 230 fires were burning over the long weekend, he said.

Before the weekend, open fires were banned across the province to reserve resources for lightning-caused fires. Campfires are also banned in the Coastal, Kamloops and Cariboo regions.

"Up until recently, most of those fires had been person-caused, but given the rash of lightning-caused fires we're seeing over the past few days, that has certainly pushed our numbers up," Skrepnek added.

With more hot dry weather expected this week, Skrepnek expects that the number of wildfires will keep adding up.

B.C. has experienced an average 1,300 wildfires a year over the past 10 years.

With files from the CBC's Chad Pawson