August 19, 2016 - 11:32 AM
VANCOUVER - Strong winds and high temperatures are forecast across much of British Columbia this weekend, and the BC Wildfire Service says that could increase fire activity.
A release from the wildfire service says fire danger ratings in B.C. are generally moderate to high, but it also lists many areas of extreme risk, and warns the danger could climb as the dry weather continues.
A campfire ban is in effect throughout the Coastal Fire Centre, except in Haida Gwaii and along a thin band of western Vancouver Island.
Bans in two interior zones of the Northwest Fire Centre come into effect Friday but the wildfire service says campfires are allowed elsewhere, although local governments can impose their own restrictions.
After several small but potentially dangerous wildfires, the Regional District of Central Okanagan has prohibited campfires as of noon Friday.
The wildfire service says it has responded to 873 fires since April 1, and that 403 blazes were caused by humans.
"We are expecting some fairly strong, gusty winds across most of the province over the course of the weekend so all that taken together certainly (creates) prime conditions for wildfires to start and ... spread," says fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek.
Sixty fires are currently burning around B.C., seven sparked in the last 24 hours, he says.
But Skrepnek says little or no lightning is expected this weekend, which is a relief for anxious fire crews.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016