As of Friday, August 2 the Prince George Fire Centre is banning fires in an area spanning from Prince Rupert to Prince George. This includes Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James.
This prohibition does not restrict campfires that are a half-metre high by a half-metre wide or smaller, and does not apply to cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes. Anyone lighting a campfire must maintain a fireguard by removing flammable debris from the campfire area and must have a hand tool or at least eight litres of water available nearby to properly extinguish the fire.
A forest fire near Endako has been contained since starting up earlier this week.
“As of this morning [August 2] the fire by Endako is 100 per cent guarded,” said Dustin Eno, fire information officer. “There are no flammables in the area and a crew is surrouding it and working to extinguish the hotspots.”
The Prince George Fire Centre is responding to 18 new fires primarily in the southern and western areas of the fire centre.
All of these new fires were lightning caused and the largest, 0.4 hectares, is located about 60 kilometres southwest of Vanderhoof.
Another fire burned a farmer’s field near Mud River on Wednesday, July 31, and is believed to have been started by a spark from his equipment as he worked his field.
The fire was 100 per cent contained as of Thursday, and 75 per cent extinguished, but the cause shows just how dry conditions are in some areas.
The fire danger rating is high to extreme in southern parts of the Prince George Fire Center, and moderate in northern areas.
The long range forecast shows this pattern continuing through the weekend, with some increases in the danger rating.
As the forest and grassland fuels dry out any source of heat, such as machinery exhaust or cigarettes, can start a fire.
The Wildfire Management Branch is reminding people to ensure that approved spark arrestors are used on all machinery (including ATV’s). People using machinery should avoid stopping in areas where organic material may come in close contact with hot exhaust.
Lightning systems moved through many areas of the Prince George Fire Centre Wednesday night and more lightning is forecasted for many areas over the next couple days.
Crews responded to three new lightning-caused fires Wednesday night. Lightning fires are not preventable, but all human caused fires are. Human caused fires divert resources from dealing with lightning fires.
Since April 1, there have been 142 fires in the Prince George Fire Centre, and 65 of these have been caused by lightning. On August 1 last year there had been 216 fires, 112 of which were caused by lightning.