Wildfire danger rating remains high

The fire danger rating in the area is high to extreme, but forestry officials continue to find abandoned campfires.

The fire danger rating in the area is high to extreme, but forestry officials continue to find abandoned campfires.

Because of the dry conditions this summer, a campfire ban was put in place in mid-July, significantly earlier than usual.

Since that time, firefighters have been called to control some fires caused by lightning strikes, but there are also many fires caused by human activity.

“We are seeing a lot of human-caused fires. We are still seeing a lot of abandoned campfires,” said Kelsey Winter, a fire information officer with the Kamloops Fire Centre.

Winter said some of the campfires may have been started after recent rainfalls, by campers who thought the danger rating had dropped.

Since conditions have been dry, she said a steady rainfall will be needed before the fire conditions change. She said rainfall of at least 25 millimetres is needed to have a significant impact on the fire danger rating.

In Summerland, Giant’s Head Mountain Park has been closed to vehicle traffic as a result of the dry conditions.

The ban remains in place and the park gate remains locked.

“It’s still extremely dry,” said George Pugh of the Summerland Fire Department.

If dry conditions continue and if the danger rating increases, he said there is the possibility that the back country would be closed to the public.

The province has closed back country access in recent years because of dry conditions.