File photo.

Wildfire risk level still at extreme in Kitimat

Total ban on all open burning, including campfires and backyard fires remains in effect

The District of Kitimat would like to remind residents and visitors that due to the extremely dry conditions in and around the district and the Kitimat Valley, the fire rating is being kept at “extreme”.

This means a total ban on all open burning, including campfires and backyard fires within the entire region, remain in effect.

“Extremely dry forest fuels and the fire risk is very serious. New fires will start easily, spread rapidly, and challenge fire suppression efforts,” said a DoK spokesperson Mike Dewar. “General forests should be used with extreme caution.”

The provincial government has declared a State of Emergency for the entire province due to the number of fires burning and the unpredictable behaviour that these conditions are creating.

Prevention means stopping wildfires before they start. Discarded cigarette butts, campfires, hot exhaust pipes coming into contact with dry grass and vegetation, power tools (such as chainsaws), Tiki torches and even discarded glass can all ignite a wildfire.

“As a homeowner you can fire smart your home by clearing all plants and other vegetation from within 10 metres of a structure and ensuring that there are no trees or other vegetation overhanging the roof. Keeping the grass and vegetation maintained will also help in the efforts to protect your home or property,” said Dewar.

He added that those who enjoy outdoor recreation outdoor should exercise caution when off-roading in the backcountry, and using tools and handling, storing and disposing of materials and fuels can all cause a wildfire.

Reporting a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour is crucial to ensuring wildfires are responded to as soon as possible. To report a wildfire or irresponsible behaviour call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 from a cell phone.

All calls are answered by BC Wildfire Service staff at the Provincial Forest Fire Reporting Centre. Any information you can provide is helpful. You can expect the emergency call taker to ask for details about the fire, including location, size, type of fuel or what is burning, colour of flame or smoke.

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