Majority of fires human caused

Provincial fire crews have been busy with wildfires this spring, but the majority have been caused by human activity.

Provincial fire crews have been busy with wildfires this spring, but the majority have been caused by human activity.

Melissa Klassen, fire information officer with the Kamloops Fire Centre, said there have been 52 wildfires in the region so far this year, burning 266 hectares.

Of these, one fire in the Vernon Fire Zone on Friday was the result of lightning activity, while the rest have been caused by human activity.

The number of fires so far this year remains lower than in the past.

The 10-year average at this time of year is 61 wildfires, destroying 404 hectares.

In the Penticton Fire Zone, which includes Summerland, one new fire was reported on the weekend.

The fire, near Strawberry Creek, was reported late Monday afternoon. It was less than one hectare in size and was  quickly controlled.

No structures were threatened as a result of that fire.

Klassen said human-caused wildfires are common in spring and early summer.

In July and August, when thunderstorm activity becomes more frequent, the number of lightning-caused fires increases and by the end of the season, roughly half the fires reported are the result of lightning strikes.

At present, the risk of wildfires is low to moderate in the region, but the danger rating can escalate quickly in dry weather.

Campfires are still permitted, but if a campfire or party fire violates the fire regulations, those present could each receive a $345 ticket. If a campfire or party fire results in a wildfire, those responsible could face fines up to $100,000 and up to a year in jail.

“Any fire caused by human negligence is one too many for us to respond to,” Klassen said.