B.C. Wildfire Service says more than 400 B.C. wildfires human-caused

B.C. Wildfire Service says more than 400 B.C. wildfires human-caused

File photo.

File photo.

An officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service says nearly a quarter of the wildfires that have scorched B.C. didn’t have to happen.

Ryan Turcot says human-caused wildfires has diverted critical resources away from natural wildfires.

The BCWS estimates more than 400 of the nearly 2,000 wildfires in B.C. since Apr. 1 are human-caused and Turcot says many people still aren’t getting the message.

Following the worst wildfire season on record in B.C. last year, 2018 is now the second worst with nearly 9,500 square kilometres of scorched land, a number that is growing.

Officials say about 23 per cent of fires started by people have been through items such as cigarettes, matches, lighters and flare guns, while 22 per cent have been spread through campfires.

The BCWS says over the past 10 years, people have been responsible for an average of 40 per cent of wildfires in the province.

Lightning has caused more than 50 wildfires that continue to burn in the northern region of Vancouver Island.

The BCWS lists three of those as wildfires of note: Gold Valley Main fire near Zeballos, Pinder Creek and Larry Lake.

An evacuation order remains in Zeballos where the 168-hectare blaze has threatened the village and crews are working to protect power lines on the south flank.

Wildfire service officials say there is no immediate risk to the structures in the evacuation order from the fire itself, but it is a difficult fire to fight because it is burning in the very steep ground with difficult and unsafe access for fire personnel.

Rain and cooler temperatures over the weekend have reduced the risk of wildfires in the province, but much of B.C. remains under air quality advisories, including west Vancouver Island.

The air advisory was lifted shortly after noon Monday for inland Vancouver Island.

With files from the Canadian Press.


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