On Vancouver Island, there has been a higher-than-average number of wildfires, and so far all 46 have been human-caused.
“On the Island, we haven’t had any natural caused fires, all 46 have been human-caused,” said Jade Richardson, fire information officer with the Coastal Fire Centre.
For the mainland portion of the Coastal Fire Centre, there has been one natural-caused fire, and 31 human-caused as well.
Human-caused fires can be intentional, but are often accidental. Fires started by cigarettes, sparks from things like ATVs or other vehicles, or other accidental means.
When a fire is determined to be human-caused, natural resource officers conduct an investigation to determine if it was started by illegal activities, like a campfire while a ban is in place, and if it was then the person responsible can face fines.
Typically, by this point in the year, Richardson says there would have been a total of two wildfires.
“Vancouver Island specifically has been seeing increased fire activity in 2023,” Richardson said. “As you know, the north of the province continues to be very busy. We’re supporting efforts across the province wherever possible, while ensuring that we have the resources we need here on the coastal side to support our future and potential starts.”
Fire resources are shared across the province, so Richardson says in a typical year the Coastal Fire Centre is able to send its resources elsewhere in the province to help out, but this year they’ve been sending fewer resources due to the higher number of wildfires.
“We’re anticipating some lightning coming through, potentially to Vancouver Island,” Richardson said. “When lightning comes through, we need resources available to respond to those. And when there’s human-caused wildfires happening simultaneously, it does take resources as well.”
Richardson says the public is typically good at following prohibitions to prevent wildfires across the province.
Currently, on Vancouver Island there is a campfire ban in place.
The fire danger rating across Vancouver Island is almost entirely high, with a few pockets of extreme risk, and one small area with a moderate risk.