August is typically the busiest month of the year for wildfires in British Columbia.
With the extremely dry July we have experienced this year, we all have to be careful in the forests and interface areas.
When the campfire ban was put in place at the beginning of this month, it signalled the fire danger ratings jumping up throughout much of the Interior.
Now, we have to be extremely vigilant by making sure folks know there is a campfire ban in place if we see them burning one.
Smokers also need to be very careful with their cigarettes and other smoking materials, which have to be completely extinguished.
Like campfires, they have to be checked to ensure they are not warm to the touch.
At the same time, Mother Nature has tossed a few thousand lightning strikes at us recently and they have sparked several new, but small, wildfires.
The largest of these naturally occurring fires in the Cariboo Fire Centre (CFC) zone was 0.2 hectare.
Fortunately, the accompanying precipitation helped keep the fires small and also helped move the fire danger rating down to moderate throughout most of the CFC region.
However, there were areas of low ratings in the western portion of the region and high in the northern and eastern areas of the region.
Thunderstorms were also in the forecast throughout the long weekend and there was a 30 per cent chance of them occurring yesterday and today.
While the accompanying rainfall or showers dampen the ground cover, it doesn’t take long for it to evaporate and then we’re back to tinder dry conditions in some areas.
There is little we can do about these natural wildfires, but there were a half dozen human-caused fires during the same timeframe.
This is where the general public can stop wildfires from occurring through preventive measures.
There is no open burning or campfires allowed in our area, so we should not be lighting them, but we should be vigilant about making sure our cigarettes are crushed out.
If we see family, friends and neighbours carrying out prohibited burning or carelessly tossing out lit cigarettes, we should remind them of the dangers.
If we don’t have that friendly talk, then we’re culpable and deserving of blame as if we’re actually participating in the act.
To report a wildfire, prohibited campfire or open burning, call 1-800-663-5555 toll free or *5555 on our cell phones.
Anyone caught breaking a fire ban can be fined $345.
If the fire escapes and causes a wildfire, the person who caused it may be convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail.