Residents in several parts of B.C. may not be especially pleased with the unseasonably cool weather they’ve been receiving, but is has been good for one thing: ensuring the wildfire season gets off to a manageable start.
A cooler spring means the slower melting of snow and the assurance that grass and brush filled valleys won’t dry out too quickly, BC Wildfire Service information officer Jean Strong said.
If temperatures spike suddenly, all the snow reserves can be released at once, depleting fire-prone areas of future moisture. So, the slower and more consistent the snow melt the better, Strong explained.
In 2022 so far, the province has seen 38 wildfires, 35 of which are believed to be human-caused. The number is consistent with the past three years, in which between 26 and 38 fires were recorded during the same period.
As of April 14, nine are actively burning, according to Strong.
She said it’s too early to say what the height of the season will look like because of the sudden variability climate change can cause. There are a number of conditions the wildfire service is constantly assessing though, including snow melt, drought recovery, temperatures and the moisture level of highly flammable materials in nature.
Strong said they’ve also been performing prescribed burns in various parts of the province in recent months and are currently recruiting and training for the upcoming season.
She encouraged people to start fire-proofing their homes now. This can including clearing surface combustible materials from a 1.5 to 10-metre radius around homes, pruning densely packed trees, ensuring power lines are unobstructed, and choosing more fire-resistant deciduous trees when landscaping.
The full Fire Smart manual can be found at gov.bc.ca. Wildfires in B.C. can be tracked on the B.C. Wildfire Dashboard.
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