Although the campfire ban was lifted on Sept. 3 for most of the BC Coastal Fire Centre region, which Cortes Island belongs to, it’s important to continue using extreme caution, said the fire centre’s staff.

Matt Bell, Wildfire information Officer with BC Wildfire Service, told CKTZ News on Friday that cooler weather and increased precipitation are the main factors in the recent decrease of wildfire danger. Currently in the Coastal Fire Centre region, there are:

  • 13 wildfires burning
  • 1 listed as out of control (located near Teaquahan River, with an estimated size of 12 hectares and is being monitored)
  • 7 listed as being held
  • 5 listed as under control

This year-to-date, the Coastal Fire Centre has recorded 203 wildfires in the region, with 26 attributed to lightning, leaving 177 as human-caused. As of Friday, 7,098 hectares had been burned (as compared to a 10-year average of 20,000 hectares).

Bell later forwarded details on one of the biggest fires in the region this season. A fire near Mowhokam Creek, very close to the border with Kamloops Fire Centre region, was discovered on Jul. 9 and is still active. As of Sept. 6, it was reclassified from a “fire of note” to the status of “being held,”  and all associated evacuation alerts have been rescinded. The fire’s perimeter encompasses over 5,000 hectares.

According to the Province, the Coastal Fire Centre is “located in Parksville on Vancouver Island [and] coordinates wildfire suppression and prevention across south coastal B.C., the most heavily populated area in the province.” Bell said these unique conditions mean it’s vital to ensure that the correct information is communicated to the public in an accurate and timely manner.

Listen to the interview with Matt Bell, Wildfire information Officer with BC Wildfire Service, in the podcast above. 

Photo credits: (top) Coastal Fire Centre region has experienced a relatively manageable fire season, aided by firefighters from other provinces and Mexico. Image via B.C. Wildfire Dashboard, taken Sunday Sept. 12 (podcast) Haze from wildfire smoke on the BC Coast by Alan via Flickr (Public Domain)

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative