Before you head out head out camping or hiking in the backcountry this weekend, be sure to check for details on any significant wildfires, evacuation orders and alerts, road closures and air quality advisories, said Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell.
"We've developed a central, one-stop-website - FireSafeBC.ca - where people can check conditions before they head out into B.C.'s forests," said Bell. "Fire activity has increased dramatically this past week, especially in the Cariboo and Southern Interior regions, and this website makes it easier for people to find out what is happening in different areas when making travel plans."
Temperatures for the long weekend are expected to remain above normal for most areas, with more lightning concentrated in the north and southeast regions. As lightning storms become more frequent, it is critical that the Province's resources are not tied up responding to preventable, human-caused fires.
"Wildfires can start in an instant. As we move into the hotter, drier summer months, be prepared to leave in a moment's notice when camping, hiking or otherwise enjoying B.C.'s backcountry," said Bell. "The public needs to be extra vigilant and understand the risks when operating in or enjoying forested areas."
Campfire bans are now in effect over most of the province. For maps of the specific prohibition areas, visit FireSafeBC.ca and click on "Current Conditions & Bans."
There are currently 279 wildfires burning in the province, 175 of which started over the last three days. Since April 1, crews around the province have responded to 943 wildfires, of which 469 have been human- caused and 462 lightning-caused. These fires have burned a total of 38,821 hectares.
You can also follow the latest wildfire news on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo
and on Facebook at http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo
To report a wildfire or unattended campfire call *5555 on your cell or toll-free 1 800 663-5555.