‘Extremely difficult conditions’: Wildfire creeps closer to Fort Nelson as other regions announce burning restrictions

'Extremely difficult conditions': Wildfire creeps closer to Fort Nelson as other regions announce burning restrictions

With the Parker Lake wildfire creeping closer to communities in Northeastern B.C., restrictions are being put in place on Vancouver Island ahead of the long weekend to prevent resources from being diverted away from where they’re needed most.

“Compared to the rest of B.C. we did see enough precipitation throughout the winter to reset our weather indices,” says Sam Bellion of the B.C. Wildfire Service.

“We’re not experiencing the prolonged drought conditions they’re seeing in other parts of the province.”

Category 2 and 3 burning restrictions are in place starting Friday at noon for the Coastal Fire Region. These restrictions include backyard and industrial burning, along with other specific equipment as well as things like fireworks and sky lanterns.

As for anyone camping ahead of the long weekend, campfires are still allowed, but keep them small.

“Under a half metre by a half metre, and always make sure you’re putting them out fully,” says Bellion.

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READ ALSO: Fire bans to be implemented across Coastal Fire Centre on Friday

While the risk on Vancouver Island remains low, the situation is dire for people around Fort Nelson. The province is providing shelter, food, and other necessities for evacuees while fire crews try to gain ground on the fire that has crept within 2.5 kilometres of Fort Nelson and the Fort Nelson First Nation.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bowinn Ma calls the conditions “extremely challenging” and says the start of this year’s wildfire season is early. “It is extremely uncommon for us to have so many on an evacuation at this time.”

As for the immediate danger facing thousands in our province, we can watch, wait, and hope.

“Our thoughts are with you. The province is there to support you,” says Ma.

Last week was emergency preparedness week in our province, and Bellion urges everyone to download the BC Wildfire App. The app provides real-time data on fires burning in the province and which restrictions are in place for all fire regions.

READ ALSO: B.C. firefighters battle ‘extreme fire behaviour’ as blaze approaches town

Jordan CunninghamJordan Cunningham

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