Cam Fortems – Kamloops This Week
Forest-fire season has struck early and aggressively in northern B.C. but it’s too early to conclude the province will endure another big year, officials said Tuesday.
Forty-nine new fires were sparked on Monday, 37 of them in the Prince George region. That includes in the Peace River region, where the Beatton Airport Road fire reached more than 3,000 hectares.
“With increasing temperatures and limited precipitation and wind, it’s causing significant challenges for us,” said Steve Thomson, the province’s minister of forests, lands and natural resource development.
Most of the province is expected to cool in the coming days and rain is forecast to fall in some regions, “which will help us,” Thomson said.
The Interior has greened up, providing little available fuel for fires. There are only four fires recorded in the entire Kamloops fire region, none of them large.
Thomson said Environment Canada is forecasting a warmer than usual summer, but noted that is not an accurate gauge of the fire season.
“Forecasting precipitation this far out is very difficult,” he said.
The province has 1,400 firefighting staff in addition to private contractors that are available.
Kevin Skrepnick a spokesman for Wildfire B.C., said grassfires do occur at this time of year, “but not to this extent.”
There have been a few grass fires in the city this spring, including two near the airport and a blaze last weekend near Royal Avenue, on the banks of the Thompson River. None of the fire causes structure damage.