Spring, at long last, is slowly starting to appear in B.C.’s Interior.
Yet with the welcomed arrival of warm temperatures also comes a warning from B.C.’s Wildfire Service: keep an eye out for overwintering fires.
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“An overwintering fire can occur when a wildfire that burned deep underground last year has continued to smoulder all winter long,” the Ministry of Forests explained in a press release on Tuesday.
“Given the extent and intensity of many wildfires in the summer of 2018, some of these residual hot spots could flare up with the arrival of warmer and drier weather this spring.”
The ministry added that most overwintering fires will occur well within an original fire’s perimeter. Many areas near communities where wildfires burned last year are being actively patrolled by firefighters and scanned using thermal imaging technology.
“It is standard practice for the B.C. Wildfire Service to monitor previous wildfire sites to ensure that any flare-ups from overwintering fires are located and suppressed if necessary,” said the ministry. “However, members of the public are encouraged to report any wildfire or smoke they see, even if it is located within the perimeter of a previous fire.”
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Below are questions and answers from the Ministry of Forests regarding overwintering fires.
What is an overwintering fire? Why might it emerge with the arrival of warmer and drier weather?
What are the visible signs of an overwintering fire?
What should be done if wildfire activity is seen?
What kind of suppression response will the B.C. Wildfire Service provide for overwintering fires?
Could an overwintering fire pose a threat to communities?
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