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British Columbia’s fire season is already beginning

WATCH: Dry conditions around the province are raising concerns for a potentially devastating fire season. Control burns in the interior are being carried out earlier than usual to get a head start on mother nature. Jeremy Hunka reports.

The calendar says March, but the smoke says May.

Fire crews around the province area are asking people to exercise the type of caution normally reserved for spring and summer.

“It is dry right now, so we do need to be careful,” says Forest Service worker Ben Sandy.

READ MORE: Was this Vancouver’s nicest February ever?

Sandy was in Rose Valley Regional Park on Wednesday disposing of fire hazard debris. It’s one of many controlled burns that have taken place and will continue to take place in the Okanagan this month because of high temperatures and extremely low snowpacks.

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READ MORE: Okanagan facing heightened wildfire risk

“The grass and small shrub layer is unseasonably dry and the Kamloops Fire Centre is already experiencing fire behaviour and conditions normally not seen until April,” said fire information officer, Kelsey Winter last weekend. “Dead grasses have dried out quickly due to the lack of snow cover, increased temperatures and wind.”

It’s not just in the Okanagan. Four human-caused fires flared up in the Southeast corner of B.C. on March 9, and one home in Lind Creek needed to be evacuated.

If the trend continues, experts say it could spell trouble in the summer. For now, officials are preaching caution.

“At this time of year, we’re asking people to be cautious, to not burn in windy conditions, to be very considerate that the fire conditions are [here] earlier,” says Emily Koch of the Cariboo Fire Centre.

“We’re seeing fire behaviour that we don’t normally see for another month or so.”

– With files from Lauren Pullen and Jeremy Hunka