FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Officials with the BC Wildfire Service are forecasting that the hot and dry weather forecast for Northeast B.C. this May long weekend will cause the fire danger rating, which is already high in many areas, to increase further.
Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds said that most of Northeast B.C. is currently sitting at a ‘high’ fire danger rating, with pockets of ‘extreme’ fire danger near Hudson’s Hope, Mackenzie, and Fort Nelson. Reynolds said that there isn’t any precipitation in the forecast east of the Rockies this weekend, which could see the fire danger upgraded to ‘extreme’ in more areas.
Reynolds said that this has so far been a fairly active fire season, though not nearly as bad as last year or the year before. Despite this, she said that residents looking to go camping for the unofficial start of summer need to take precautions, especially when having a campfire.
Category 2 fires are currently prohibited across the Prince George Fire Centre – which includes all of Northeast B.C. – meaning that campfires need to be smaller than a half-metre in dimension. Sky lanterns, burning barrels, and binary exploding targets are also prohibited, as are grass fires smaller than 2,000 square metres.
Reynolds said that in anticipation of a spike in wildfires this weekend, the BC Wildfire Service does have firefighters on standby in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, and Fort Nelson at the ready to respond to any flare-ups. Smokejumpers and an air tanker are also in Fort St. John on standby.