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Plan ahead, be prepared for wildfire risks this long weekend

June 27, 2024 at 6:56 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People enjoying beautiful British Columbia this Canada Day long weekend are strongly urged to use caution and be prepared as warm weather and drought conditions increase wildfire risk in many areas of the province.

Residents and travellers should use caution and take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire by staying up to date on current conditions, following fire bans and restrictions, and having an emergency plan that is shared with friends and family.

Because conditions can change quickly, people who are travelling should check ahead for road closures, evacuation alerts, evacuation orders and other prohibitions, such as BC Parks closures. Follow all instructions from local governments or First Nations. People are welcome to explore the province, but should avoid travel to areas that are under evacuation alert or evacuation order.

People planning to have campfires should do so safely, following any local prohibitions. Avoid having a campfire when it’s windy, choose a proper fire pit or make a ring of rocks at least three metres from trees, shrubs, structures and debris, and do not leave a campfire unattended for any amount of time.

Several open-burning prohibitions are currently in place around the province and will be updated as conditions change.

There are lots of things individuals can do to help protect their homes from wildfires. Whether in an urban or rural area, these proven FireSmart tips can help safeguard properties:

  • Clear dry leaves and debris from around your property.
  • Move propane tanks and other flammables at least 10 metres from structures.
  • Keep grass cut short.
  • Close doors and windows.
  • Water trees, shrubs and plants (following local water restrictions).

The BC Wildfire Service relies on members of the public to report wildfires and thanks the public for its ongoing help in reporting wildfires quickly. Approximately 40% of new fires are reported by the public. Reporting wildfires or dangerous activities that might cause wildfires is a way people can help keep everyone safe. The sooner a wildfire is reported, the sooner a response can begin.

To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or an open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone or download the BC Wildfire Service app. The newly improved BC Wildfire Service mobile app allows people to check the current wildfire situation, road conditions and weather forecasts. Users can also report new wildfires and submit photos, which helps inform BC Wildfire Service operational decision-making.

Additional precautions:

  • Anyone riding an all-terrain vehicle on or within 300 metres of forested land or rangeland must have a spark arrestor installed on the vehicle.
  • To help reduce wildfire risks, check the condition of the muffler, regularly clear buildups of grass or other vegetation from hot spots, stay on dirt paths, and avoid tall grass and weeds.
  • Dispose of smoking materials responsibly, ensuring they are completely extinguished.

Learn More:

For the latest information about the current wildfire situation, including fire bans and restrictions, in B.C., visit: https://bcwildfire.ca

For the most up-to-date information about wildfire activity in B.C., visit: https://wildfiresituation.nrs.gov.bc.ca/dashboard

For more information about fire prohibitions, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/fire-bans-and-restrictions.

To report a wildfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll free, or *5555 on a cellphone or download the BC Wildfire Service app.

For information about active emergencies, including evacuation alerts and evacuation orders, visit: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/

For more information about how to FireSmart your home, visit: https://firesmartbc.ca/

For a guide about how to travel safely this spring and summer, visit: https://www.hellobc.com/know-before-you-go/

For the latest videos from wildfire incidents, visit: https://www.youtube.com/@BCWildfireService

To check current weather alerts, visit: https://weather.gc.ca/

For preparedness guides from PreparedBC, including floods, wildfires and extreme heat, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-management/preparedbc

To create an online profile for Emergency Support Services, visit: https://ess.gov.bc.ca/

To create a personalized emergency and evacuation plan with the new Emergency Ready Planner, visit: https://preparedbc.ca/EmergencyReady

To stay informed about the latest road conditions, visit: https://www.drivebc.ca/

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