With extreme wildfires here to stay, B.C. launches guide on how to get ready

Water bombers attack the Shovel Lake wildfire during 2018's devastating wildfire season. David Luggi

In the wake of a string of record-breaking wildfire seasons, British Columbia has launched a new wildfire preparedness guide aimed at ensuring residents are ready for emergencies.

Those fires, according to a recent study by Environment and Climate Change Canada, were in part driven by extreme dry conditions linked to human-caused climate change, and the B.C. Wildfire Service is forecasting those conditions to return for 2019.

READ MORE: After series of ‘exceptional’ summers, Metro Vancouver urges residents be ready for smoke

In the face of a fire threat that is anticipated to grow in the years to come, PreparedBC says the guide will help residents by focusing on specific things they can do to prepare themselves before, during and after a wildfire.

“The first step in managing any kind of emergency is to be as prepared as possible,” Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said in a media release.

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“This guide will arm British Columbians with helpful information on how to stay safe in the event of a wildfire, and how to help reduce the stress and anxiety that an emergency situation may cause.”

The recommended contents of a “grab-and-go bag” that can be kept ready in case of an emergency.
The recommended contents of a “grab-and-go bag” that can be kept ready in case of an emergency. Emergency Info BC

Among the recommendations made in the guide are developing a household plan for a wildfire and preparing a “grab-and-go bag” of items for the whole family.

The guide also advises people to get familiar with their local government’s emergency response plan along with information on how to handle wildfire smoke and wildfire stress.

As of the start of July, B.C. has not seen large-scale wildfires affecting significant portions of the province.

READ MORE: Here comes the smoke: Health officials tell B.C. to prepare for new ‘5th season’

The BC Wildfire Service says the province had seen 433 fires burning just over 11,000 hectares as of June 30.

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More than 1.3 million hectares burned during the record 2018 wildfire season, beating out the 1.2 million that burned in the 2017 season.

A brief history of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire

Click to play video: 'A brief history of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire'
A brief history of the Okanagan Mountain Park fire

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