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Premier calls for fire safety as weather heats up wildfire risk

Speaking at a Kelowna media event on Monday, July 28, 2014, Premier Christy Clark urged British Columbians to do everything they can to prevent forest fires.
July 29, 2014 - 7:28 AM

KELOWNA – It’s not just firefighters across the province worried about the latest heat wave creating the perfect conditions for more wildfires.

Premier Christy Clark is asking every British Columbian to make a personal commitment to do everything they can to protect the forests and the province’s natural beauty.

Temperatures have soared back into the mid-30s and it’s expected to remain hot for the foreseeable future.

Kevin Skrepnek with the Wildfire Management Branch says rainfall throughout the province last week gave firefighters a break, but the hot, dry conditions are raising concerns.

Premier Clark says over 60 per cent of the forest fires this season have been caused by people.

“That’s a cigarette butt out the window, that’s a chainsaw in the forest, it’s a campfire not properly put out,” she says. “We could spare people a lot heartache… if everybody makes a personal commitment to do everything they can. You could cut out at least half of the forest fires. That’s a good start.”

Roughly 2,500 personnel have been committed to battling the 95 blazes burning in B.C.

There have been 698 fires in the province since April 1, compared with 518 fires this time last year.

Fire fighter Jake Sparks pauses for a moment at the Smith Creek fire in West Kelowna, Saturday, July, 19, 2014.
Fire fighter Jake Sparks pauses for a moment at the Smith Creek fire in West Kelowna, Saturday, July, 19, 2014.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

To contact the reporter for this story, email Howard Alexander at halexander@infotelnews.ca or call 250-491-0331. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

- with files from The Canadian Press

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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