We have had triple the average number of fires in the Coastal Fire Centre already this fire season, burning 233 hectares.

Fire Information Officer Donna MacPherson said dry weather is to blame for the significant number of fires.

“So far, the Coastal Fire Centre has had 22 fires this year; the seven-year average for this time of year is actually seven,” said MacPherson.

“Those extra fires, the vast majority of them occurred when we had that really warm spring, things dried out quite a bit (in March) and we had quite a few fires then and also into early April,” said MacPherson.

The province recently announced that the massive Elephant Hill fire of 2017 (near Ashcroft) was human-caused and, therefore, preventable.

The Elephant Hill fire burned 191,865 hectares, almost 50,000 people had to evacuate their homes, 123 homes in the Boston Flats, Loon Lake, and Pressy Lake areas were destroyed, and the fire was burning for more than 75 days.

This human-caused fire was preventable and MacPherson said this needs to be a lesson to British Columbians.

“It’s not only disappointing, but it’s also very tragic, that fire impacted a lot of people’s lives and changed things for them,” said MacPherson.

MacPherson said, “People need to be very aware that fire is not a kids toy and we have to approach it with the caution that an adult would, just like we wouldn’t let our kids play with matches, we shouldn’t be playing with fire unless we take responsibility for it.”

She’s reminding anyone who is planning on lighting a campfire during the nice weather this summer of a few things.

“Make sure you situate it carefully, you want to get mineral soil underneath your campfire, which means digging all the burnable things out of the way, lining it with rocks, keep it well away from trees, don’t start it on a windy day,” said MacPherson.

“The absolute, most important piece of this, you need to be right beside the fire to take care of it and you have to put it out, cold to the touch when you leave.”

The only fires that are allowed anywhere in BC right now are campfires and while the Province’s open burning ban lapses on May 15, BC Wildfires ban will continue into the summer.

More information is available here.