July 15, 2015 - 4:31 PM
CAMPFIRE RESTRICTIONS STILL IN PLACE
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Fire danger ratings are back to a high rating for the majority of the province’s interior, with some pockets still rated as extreme.
B.C. Wildfire information officer Kayla Pepper says a bit of rain lowered the rating to a low to moderate risk over the past week or so, but it didn't take long to evaporate.
"There’s a few areas in the Okanagan that are in low (rating) but the conditions are changing rapidly right now,” she says.
A high danger rating means forest fuels are dry which can lead to a serious risk in wildfires. New fires can start easily and burn quickly. Extreme ratings are very serious. During both ratings, restrictions can be in place for fire-related activities.
Pepper says the rain dampened the top layer of the forest floor which dried up again quickly.
More precipitation is expected to roll through the North Thompson. Environment Canada announced a severe thunderstorm watch today, July 15, with a 60 per cent chance of showers for the region along with a chance of showers or thunderstorms in Kamloops. But, Pepper notes, with the rain comes lightning.
As of noon today, 175 fires were active across the province. Of those, 18 are of note. Most of the fires of note are contained.
During the high to extreme risk ratings, the Kamloops Fire Centre continues to ban open burning along with campfires in the Thompson-Okanagan region. The City of Kamloops even issued a ban on cigarettes in all nature parks and trail and RCMP officers in Vernon and Kamloops say they plan on ticketing people who toss their cigarette butts out the window of their car.
Humans caused a total of 375 fires so far this year. The province is reviewing penalties for those who start wildfires.
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