The historic heatwave is putting our forests at risk.

Information officer, Dorthe Jakobsen, says it’s been a busy weekend in the Coastal Fire Centre.

“Since Thursday last week we’ve had nine new fires,” Jakobsen said.

“There’s one new fire on Vancouver Island near Comox Lake, and there’s a fire under control near Sechelt and a new fire at Daniels River on the Sunshine Coast.”

The Comox Lake fire is 0.01 hectares, and was discovered today.

Map of Comox Lake fire. (Supplied by BC Wildfire)

The cause is not yet known.

Jakobsen said that while wildfire activity is ramping up in the region, she’s cautiously optimistic that people are being careful while enjoying the outdoors.

However, with 83 percent of all wildfires in the province being caused by people this year, Jakobsen is once again reminding everyone to be careful as the forest floor gets drier by the day.

“We’re moving through the fire danger ratings very quickly, we’ve got some extreme fire danger risk spots popping up on our map now, and as the week continues this will probably increase,” Jakobsen warns. “We got through the weekend in not too bad of shape, but it’s not over.”

The fire danger rating across the province, including all of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, has elevated quickly and is now between moderate and extreme in most places.

 

Fire danger rating across B.C. as of noon, on June 28th. (Supplied by BC Wildfire)

To reduce the fire risk, Category 2 and Category 3 open fire prohibitions are now in place across the region, except for Haida Gwaii.

Category 2 open fire means an open fire, other than a campfire, that

  • burns material in one pile not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width,
  • burns material concurrently in 2 piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width, or
  • burns stubble or grass over an area that does not exceed 0.2 ha.

Category 3 includes:

  • material concurrently in 3 or more piles each not exceeding 2 m in height and 3 m in width,
  • material in one or more piles each exceeding 2 m in height or 3 m in width,
  • one or more windrows, or
  • stubble or grass over an area exceeding 0.2 ha.

The prohibitions in place covers larger industrial burns and backyard burning.

That means depending on where you are, and what regional regulations are in place, you are still allowed to have a campfire but it’s important to check first before starting one.