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EDITORIAL: Wildfire season is heating up

Recent increase in wildfire activity is cause for concern
BC Wildfire Service crews mopping up in areas surrounding the Keremeos Creek wildfire. (BC Wildfire Service- Facebook)

After a quiet spring and early summer, wildfires are now raging in British Columbia’s Southern Interior.

Near Lytton, the Nohomin Creek wildfire has been burning since July 14. A little more than a year earlier, the village of Lytton was devastated when a wildfire destroyed most of the community.

In the South Okanagan, the Keremeos Creek wildfire and fires near Penticton have been affecting residents and visitors. Wildfires have also been recorded in the North Okanagan and Shuswap.

READ ALSO: Highway 3A closes due to Keremeos Creek wildfire

READ ALSO: Fire fuelling forecast for Keremeos Creek wildfire, near Penticton

Some of these fires have been close to populated areas and evacuation alerts and orders have been issued for those near the fire zones. In the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen alone, more than 750 properties are under evacuation orders or evacuation alerts.

While this year’s fire season has seen far fewer fires than in 2021, 2018 and 2017, the increase in fires in recent weeks is cause for concern.

The quiet start to this year’s wildfire season does not guarantee the rest of the summer and fall will follow the same trend. In some past years, fire activity has become most intense in late July, August and into September.

The busy wildfire seasons of 2017, 2010 and 2003 were all relatively quiet during the spring and the first part of the summer, but each took on a level of intensity later in the summer and into the fall.

By now, most if not all who live in the Southern Interior have made some preparations in case a wildfire results in an evacuation alert or an evacuation order. These include making an emergency plan, having a grab-and-go bag ready and preparing one’s home and property to reduce the risk of a fire.

In an area where wildfires have caused immense destruction, such measures are necessary.

Still, after devastating and intense wildfire seasons in recent years, many had been hoping for a reprieve this year.

— Black Press

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