With temperatures set to approach 30 degrees Celsius in BC’s southern Interior this week, the province’s update on its wildfire action plan hasn’t come a moment too soon.
Released last week, the update outlines actions taken on to implement 108 recommendations made in the independent report the province commissioned following the devastating 2017 wildfire season. Action is underway on more than a third of the recommendations, with recent improvements aiming for better communication among stakeholders and greater funding of wildfire management.
Several prescribed burns have taken place in recent weeks to reduce the risk of wildfires, backed by $10 million in provincial funding. In addition, burn restrictions will be upgraded in the Cariboo region on May 10 to mitigate wildfire risks.
A month ago, on April 9, Category 3 open fires were banned; on May 10, Category 2 open fires will be banned. These include the burning of waste, slash and similar materials; open fires larger than a half-metre; stubble and grass fires; and the use of sky lanterns, fireworks or binary exploding targets.
Regional water restrictions have also come into place in many municipalities after an exceedingly dry March. However, the province notes that just five of the province’s 29 regions qualify as “dry” or “very dry.” The driest regions are the Nechako, Skeena-Nass and Peace.