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Wet, cooler start to B.C. summer has kept wildfires well below historic averages

Last Updated Jul 10, 2020 at 11:29 am PDT

FILE - Rainfall (iStock Photo)

Wildfire risk is down across B.C. compared to previous years due to cooler and wet weather

BC Wildfire Service says the province is well below historic numbers

Despite low fire danger rating, BC Wildfire Service reminds you to be alert, careful with campfires

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The cool and wet weather we’ve experienced so far this summer may have dampened spirits but it has also kept wildfire risk down and air quality up.

Normally this time of year, the fire danger ratings around B.C. would be inching their way up toward moderate or even high.

However, Karley Desrosiers with the BC Wildfire Service says this year’s wet spring and early summer have kept wildfires across the province at well-below historical norms.

“Actually just a bit lower than half of what we had last year,” she tells NEWS 1130. “So, this season we’re at 199 fires, whereas this time last year we were at 479 … A lot of that can be attributed to the precipitation that we’ve had.”

It’s the same trend on the coast, with just 37 wildfires this year, well below the 10-year average of 61.

Despite the lower risk, the BC Wildfire Service does note that many of the fires in our region this year have been human-caused, serving as a caution to British Columbians as we head into a warmer weekend.

“We have had a lot of precipitation so a lot of larger fuels are significantly more damp than we’ve seen in the past, so those larger fuels take longer to dry. Those longer drying periods are a good thing to mitigate the fire danger,” Desrosiers says. “But if temperatures start to rise and we are having more drier conditions then those fuels will dry out over time and then the danger rating will, of course, increase.”

You’re being reminded to be alert while outdoors and to not be careless.

“We, of course, want people to take the most precaution when they’re out having campfires and things like that. We understand that people want to enjoy their summer and have campfires and everything, but absolutely just be very, very careful when having a campfire.”

When putting out a campfire, make sure you pour plenty of water on it and the areas around it. The province says to stir the campfire after doing so until there are no embers left and until ashes are cold to the touch.