Effective immediately, campfires are banned throughout the Northwest Fire Centre, which includes the Lakes District. The ban will remain in effect until otherwise ordered, and includes all BC Park, Crown and private land.
Although municipalities have their own fire prevention bylaws, the Village of Burns Lake policy is to fall in step with directives from the fire management branch.
The ban follows a heavy weekend of lightning-strike caused fires throughout the region.
The Northwest Fire Centre (NWFC) responded to 36 fires since last Thursday, with all but one the result of a lightning strike.
The Prince George Fire Centre responded to 37 new fires over the long weekend after a system of lightning storms moved through the district.
The largest fire is located near Peta Mountain, approximately 20 kilometres north of Fraser Lake. An enormous plume of smoke from the 350 hectare fire was clearly visible from Hwy. 16 and from as far away as Fort St. James. The fire was first reported late afternoon on Aug. 6. Helicopters, crews and multiple airtankers are working to contain the fire.
As of Aug. 6, the fire is reported to be zero per cent contained.
Closer to home, the Nadina fire zone successfully responded to several spot fires over the weekend, including one at the east end of Babine Lake.
Rob Krause, forest protection officer for the Nadina fire zone, said that despite efforts to raise public awareness surrounding the dangers of unattended fires during the recent hot, dry spell the region has been experiencing, some campers failed to take the message to heart.
“We dealt with five abandoned campfires – fires still burning – over the long weekend,” Krause said. “They dealt with nine in the Terrace area.”
One of the fires took more than two hours to extinguish after a solo member of the wildfire management branch came upon an abandoned fire which had spread outside of the fire pit.
The two larger fires which broke out last Thursday on the north side of Francois Lake where completely contained by the end of the next day. Twenty-person unit crews from Burns Lake and Terrace each handled a fire.
Two small fires near Decker Lake have been 100 per cent contained and are being monitored.
“Of the 36 fires the Northwest Fire Centre responded to, nearly all of them were contained at less than one hectare in size,” said Suzanne Pearce, NWFC fire information officer. “Our ability to ‘hit hard, hit fast’ was made possible by prompt and accurate reporting by the public, and by the tremendous efforts of our ground crews, response officers and support staff.”
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone.