This summer has presented us with some great weather for camping and enjoying the beauty of the North.
However, the hot, dry conditions have also given us a number of forest fire challenges. Compound that with the amount of lightning strikes that we have had and we have gone from 700 fires in the province a week ago, to over 1,200 fires in total this season so far.
No one can accurately predict forest firefighting costs since each season varies significantly depending on weather conditions and number of fires, however I want to assure all British Columbia residents that, as a government, we always spend whatever is required to fight wildfires and protect people and property.
In the past, firefighting costs have ranged from a low of $19 million in 1997 to a high of $382 million last year.
It’s important to note that July and August are typically the most active months of the fire season. As we enter the hotter, drier summer months when lightning storms are more frequent, it is crucial that crews are not tied up responding to preventable human-caused fires.
I urge all B.C. residents and visitors to obey campfire bans in your area, avoid taking vehicles through dry grass and don’t throw out your cigarette butts.
If you would like to help the approximately 3000 brave firefighters currently battling forest fires in your region, why not drop by your local fire centre and drop off some snacks or cold drinks? Many of them are away from their families in Alberta and Ontario and would appreciate the hospitality.
You can check the latest updates at www.bcforestfireinfo.gov.bc.ca or on Twitter – http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo and Facebook – www.facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo.
And please call *5555 on any cell phone to report a fire.