First floods, now fires

Despite a record flood season, fires are becomming a concern

After a wildly wet spring that seemed to draw out for eternity, and floods that will go down in history, summer is coming in hot and heavy.

It’s hard to believe that with all the water that has saturated the earth that a fire could even be a possibility. But the Canada Day long weekend in the Okanagan proves that fire season is well upon us.

Firefighters in BX, Lumby and Oyama were kept busy Sunday with grass and wildfires. Luckily, the quick actions of residents and crews helped contain each of the blazes and nothing major transpired.

But with all the extra growth that recent flooding has created, there is more fuel for fires out there – whether it’s in the bush or on the sides of the roads. Plus summer is in full effect, with the next week showing nothing but hot and dry weather.

Therefore more caution is needed on our parts to reduce the risk. Carelessly discarded cigarette butts are a prime concern, and too often a culprit in fires. As are abandoned campfires and unprepared/illegal burning. While we can’t control lightning or other natural causes – we can all do our part to be responsible and urge responsible behaviour.

Humans were responsible for causing over half (or 566) of the 1,050 wildfires that started in 2016 – according to the BC Wildfire Service. While last year saw an unusually early and active start to the wildfire season, overall it was considered below average in terms of cost, number of starts and amount of land burned.

So far this year, between April and July 2, there have already been 54 wildfires in the Kamloops region, burning 333 hectares. With the danger rating sitting between moderate and extreme – extra caution is needed to ensure we don’t have a volatile season.

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