The province has closed public access to all back country Crown land in the Cariboo Fire Centre, due to the high number of current fires and the potential for more.
The ban covers an area from Clinton to north of Quesnel, but doesn’t apply to commercial operators or businesses.
“It means a person must not remain in, or enter, that restricted area without prior authorization of an official designated under the Wildfire Act, unless the person is travelling to their principle residence, using a highway as defined in the Transportation Act, livestock management activities, travelling in an official capacity, or travelling for the purpose of wildfire suppression activity,” says Kevin Skrepnek from the BC Wildfire Service.
Skrepnek says Saturday could be a challenging day for firefighters in many parts of BC.
“There is some rain in the forecast mainly for the Coast. In the Interior, we’re expecting a considerable increase in winds, possible lightning, and any showers we see in the Interior will be quite isolated and scattered. It’s shaping up to be a very challenging day,” says Skrepnek.
Skrepnek says the weather shift should improve the smoke situation somewhat improve.
“Particularly in coastal BC, potentially elsewhere, but it will depend on fire activity.”
There are 143 fires burning in BC — including 11 new ones on Thursday.
There have been 966 fires since April 1, charring 646,000 hectares, and costing $270 million to fight.
Thirty-seven hundred personnel are working on fires around BC, including 650 from out of province.
The biggest fire is the Elephant Hill fire between Cache Creek and Clinton at 117,000 hectares and 30% contained.
Photo courtesy of BC Wildfire Service