Wildfires are burning in many parts of British Columbia and the fire danger ratings in many parts of the province are high and extreme.
So far this year, 616 wildfires have been reported in British Columbia and there are 104 active fires burning.
In the Okanagan Valley, the Knox Mountain fire, discovered on Saturday, July 1, is continuing to burn. The fire is two kilometres northwest of Kelowna, and as of July 3, was at 6.5 hectares.
Fires burning near urban areas are cause for concern, and this is not the first time a wildfire has come close to a town or city.
Those who lived in the Okanagan Valley in 2003 will remember the Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire that year. The fire resulted in the evacuation of 33,050 people from Naramata and Kelowna.
In 2009, fires in July affected West Kelowna neighbourhoods.
And in recent years, the wildfire seasons of 2018, 2017 and 2021 have been the three worst fire seasons on record in British Columbia.
A state of emergency in the summer of 2021 lasted for 56 days and resulted in numerous evacuation orders and alerts.
The summer of 2021 will also be remembered as the summer when the village of Lytton was destroyed by fire. The charred remains of that wildfire can still be seen in the community and serve as a reminder that wildfires can affect communities.
This is the time to prepare for the possibility of wildfires close to home.
The BC Wildfire Service has information available about preparing for wildfires, and fire departments also have preparedness materials available. This includes information about protecting homes from wildfires as well as information about how to prepare for an evacuation during the wildfire season.
Fires are burning now and the wildfire season could get worse before the summer is over.
Taking time for preparation now can make a difference if fires come close to home later.
— Black Press
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