Sweltering long weekend on the way as BC warns of wildfire risks

Jul 29 2022, 6:29 pm

British Columbians are being warned that it’s time to prepare for the increased risk of wildfires as we head into a long weekend with high temperatures expected to stick around.

A heat warning from Environment and Climate Change Canada has been in effect around much of BC for most of this week — and it will continue through at least Sunday.

vancouver long weekend

Forecast for Vancouver/Environment and Climate Change Canada

The warning says folks in areas like Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will feel daytime high temperatures of 30˚C to 35˚C inland and 25˚C to 30˚C near the water.

And the humidex will make it feel even hotter.

“A strong ridge of high pressure continues to bring a heatwave to British Columbia this week. The pattern change is expected early next week, as an upper trough brings a cooler airmass,” the statement reads.

An air quality advisory is also issued for the region and is expected to last for the week. Environment Canada said this is due to high concentrations of ground-level ozone.

“Mitigating wildfire risk is a shared responsibility”

In addition to the weather warning, we are also being reminded about the increased risk of wildfires.

The BC Wildfire Service is monitoring the changing conditions and keeping a close eye on potential widespread lightning that will not combine well with the current weather.

However, the province says keeping BC safe from these catastrophic events is a shared responsibility.

Campfire safety

Currently, there are no campfires bans around the province. But caution is still needed as 52% of the 380 wildfires in BC since April have been caused by people.

 

fire bans

BC Government

“Human-caused fires are completely preventable and may cause the BC Wildfire Service to divert resources away from responding to naturally occurring fires,” the province says.

Anyone that violates the campfire regulations, may be:

  • Handed a violation ticket for $1,150,
  • Required to pay an administrative penalty of up to $10,000, or
  • If convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail.

If a violation causes or contributes to a wildfire, individuals may be ordered to pay for all firefighting and associated costs.

Additional fire precautions

To prevent sparking a wildfire, the province suggests checking your vehicles muffler condition.

“Regularly clear build-ups of grass or other vegetation from hotspots, stay on dirt paths, and avoid tall grass and weeds,” it advises.

British Columbians riding an all-terrain vehicle on or within 300 metres of forested land or rangeland will need to have a spark arrestor installed.

Smokers are asked to responsibly throw their cigarette butts and other smoking materials to ensure it is fully extinguished.

FireSmart tips for property owners

Branches, leaves, and pine needles are encouraged to be removed from the homes roof, gutters, balconies, doorways, windowsills (while paying extra attention to corners or other tight spots).

Grass that is within 10 metres from the home should be mowed preferably to 10 centimetres high or less.

You can also make a 1.5-metre “non-combustible zone” around a home by sweeping down to mineral soil, rock, or concrete.

Movable propane tanks or wood piles should be kept at least 10 metres away from your home.

Lastly, check all exterior vents to make sure they are properly screened and in good condition.

To stay informed with changing conditions, visit bcwildfire.ca or check the BC Wildfire Service app.

With files from Amir Ali

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