September has amped up the wildfire risk in many parts of BC as hot, dry weather gives summer an extended finish.
While the conditions are good news for forage corn producers, property owners in Hudson’s Hope are on evacuation alert as a result of the Battleship Mountain fire which ranks as the largest fire in the province this year at nearly 33,000 acres.
This is a fraction of the size of fires seen in previous seasons, but the potential for the fire to grow larger is significant. Winds strengthened out of the southwest on Wednesday, raising the risk the fire could move towards the WAC Bennett power dam at the east end of Williston Lake.
“It hasn’t really affected too many people, says Christoph Weder of Venator Ranches, who farms on the opposite side of the lake from the fire. “But there’s a lot of risk to the fact that if it continues burning towards the east and jumps by the dam it will keep on going.”
There are no grazing licences on that side of the lake, so no ranchers have been affected to date. But with all of Hudson’s Hope on evacuation alert, he’s on guard.
“We’ve got everything on standby at the ranch – got a Cat ready, water truck and everything – prepared, just in case,” he says.
The Kamloops and Southeast fire centres remain the most active districts the year with a total of 772 fires between them. This is more than half the 1,446 fires in the province this year, totalling 177,382 acres burned. This compares to 2.15 million acres burned last year.