High temps, dry conditions lead B.C. to warn outdoor lovers not to spark fires

Click to play video: 'Increasing wildfire risk across B.C.’s South Coast'
Increasing wildfire risk across B.C.’s South Coast
With just three days into a heat wave at least two fires broke out on the south coast -- one in Belcarra -- the other in Squamish. As Christa Dao reports, both fires prompting a quick response -- given the early arrival of extreme conditions – May 14, 2023

With the May long weekend on the doorstep, B.C. officials are urging members of the public to exercise caution when it comes to using the outdoors.

The concern for B.C. is that the vast majority of wildfires ignited in the spring are human-caused.

The province said that above-normal temperatures combined with drought conditions for most of B.C. have increased wildfire risks.

Click to play video: 'B.C. evening weather forecast: May 18'
B.C. evening weather forecast: May 18

Since April 1, more than 220 wildfires have burned 1,350 square kilometres, largely within the Prince George Fire Centre region.

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Of these fires, 85 per cent were human-caused and were preventable, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Category 2 and 3 open burning fires are prohibited throughout the Prince George Fire Centre area. Campfires (known as Category 1) will be prohibited as of noon, Friday.

Anyone found in contravention of an open-burning prohibition may be ticketed $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000, or if convicted in court, face a maximum fine of $100,000 and a maximum jail sentence of up to one year.

If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

Click to play video: 'Wildfire breaks out neat Fort St. John'
Wildfire breaks out neat Fort St. John

While campfires are currently allowed in most areas of the province that fall under the BC Wildfire Service’s jurisdiction, British Columbians should check with local governments and other authorities to see if any burning restrictions or bylaws are in effect.

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While the majority of spring wildfires are human-caused, wildfire officials said they are preparing for lightning-caused fires as the probability of storms is increasing.

As of 10 a.m. Friday morning, there are 72 known active wildfires burning in the province.

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