BC Wildfire Service is asking residents to be careful about where they set off fireworks this Canada Day.
Rob Barnett, a technician with BCWS, said although the fire risk for the South Cariboo remains low to moderate, it’s important to be cautious ahead of the upcoming wildfire season. Those who plan to set off fireworks are encouraged to do so over non-vegetative areas like lakes and gravel pits.
“There’s plenty of green right now but as the grass starts to dry up we just want people to be responsible,” Barnett said. “If it does get really hot for an extended period (the underbrush) will dry up in a matter of a week and that will be a source for concern.”
Barnett visited the Interlakes Farmers’ Market last Saturday, handing out pamphlets and answering questions from the public. With no major fires to fight right now, Barnett said he and other B.C Wildfire crew members have had more time for public engagement and outreach.
They have also been working on an ongoing fire mitigation project near South Green Lake, clearing underbrush around the community and the campgrounds.
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At this time last year, B.C. was in the grips of a heat dome that led to multiple wildfires across the South Cariboo and the B.C. Interior.
“This year fires have been below average this whole spring. We’ve had a lot more rain, there’s still the snowpack that hasn’t been melted but we are expecting warm weather for July and August,” Barnett said. “It could go either way I think.”
Even with an unusually wet spring, Barnett said South Cariboo residents should ensure their homes are FireSmarted. Sprinklers help but aren’t enough on their own, he added.
Barnett said residents should ensure there is a 10-metre radius around their homes and structures that is free of potential fuel before clearing the underbrush on the rest of their properties. Other measures include replacing mulch with gravel and moving firewood and propane tanks away from structures.
FireSmarting, which includes burning slash, should be done by June, but Barnett said homeowners can still protect their properties with regular maintenance. Residents are encouraged to keep their lawns clean and cut short to avoid drying them out in the summer heat.
He also suggests those who are unable to burn large piles of fuel to take them to a local dump for safe disposal.
“Most people seem pretty aware, which is really nice to hear,” Barnett said. “It’s kind of tricky. Unless they live in a community protection zone, there’s not a whole lot we can do on Crown land. That’s why we really emphasize people clean up their own properties first.”