Southeast Fire Centre thankful for public’s help

Cooler weather and precipitation have led the Southeast Fire Centre to lift the campfire ban in many areas, but fire officials are thanking the public for their cooperation and assistance in this year’s busy fire season.

“Public vigilance and respect for campfire and open burning bans allowed the Southeast Fire Centre to send crews, fire management specialists and support personnel to other areas in the province to respond to a significant number of large fires,” Southeast Fire Centre spokeswoman Gwen Eamer said in a statement today.

Eighteen three-person Initial Attack Crews and four 20-person Unit Crews are currently assisting in the Kamloops, Coastal and Northwest Fire Centres. Over 20 Forest Protection Officers and additional support staff are also working in other areas of British Columbia. Ten Initial Attack crews remain in the Southeast to respond to anticipated fire starts in this area.

This year’s fire season has been very active throughout the province, with 2,442 fires burning 133,736 hectares. At this time in 2008 the BC Forest Service had responded to 1,734 fires burning 11,303 hectares.

The Southeast Fire Centre has responded to 385 fires that have burned 3,185 hectares, or nearly 32 square kilometres. Last year at this time, crews had responded to 376 fires burning 1,239 hectares.

Despite burning restrictions and a critical provincial wildfire situation, the Southeast Fire Centre has continued to respond to human-caused fires. Since July 24, when the campfire ban was implemented, crews have been forced to respond to 11 wildfires caused by people, and 106 nuisance fires.

Although the campfire ban has been lifted in all areas of the Southeast except the Boundary Fire Zone, the fire season is not yet over. The Fire Centre is relying on continued public vigilance in order to limit the number of human-caused fires through August and September.

Please continue to report smoke or flames by calling the toll-free emergency line at 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most mobile networks.