Province urges public to prepare for extreme fire conditions

Province of British Columbia
By Province of British Columbia
August 17th, 2023

The Province is preparing for extreme fire behaviour due to potential dry lightning and strong winds.

People are urged to be prepared for evacuations and follow all regional fire prohibitions.

During the past week, B.C. has seen record-breaking heat accompanied by dry air masses, especially in the south of the province. The heat has compounded the existing drought conditions affecting much of the province and heightened the wildfire risk.

Additionally, a fast-moving cold front is set to come through the province today through Friday. The incoming cold, dry air is expected to break down the existing high-pressure ridge, causing strong, shifting winds and dry lightning. As a result, the province may see new fire starts that grow quickly, as well as overall unpredictable and fast-moving fire behaviour of existing wildfires.

Before travelling anywhere within the province, check for road closures, evacuation alerts, evacuation orders and other prohibitions, such as BC Parks closures. Follow all instructions from First Nations or local authorities, including evacuation alerts or evacuation orders.

Given the incoming conditions that may result in rapidly growing and moving wildfires, it is important that people who are placed under an evacuation order leave the area immediately and follow the instructions provided by their local authority or First Nation. Decisions around evacuation orders are not made lightly.

As part of their emergency plans, people should connect with friends and family who may be able to provide shelter and support should an evacuation order be issued. This will help ensure local accommodation is available for those who have no other option.

For those who do not have the option of staying with family or friends, Emergency Support Services (ESS), including accommodation, are available. People are strongly encouraged to pre-register for ESS at: ess.gov.bc.ca

This can expedite an evacuee’s experience at a reception centre and allow e-transfers, where applicable. People should also prepare by putting together a grab-and-go kit for themselves, their family and their pets.

Help from the public can be the first line of defence in preventing and containing wildfires. Early reporting of wildfire is a crucial support in quickly getting firefighters to new starts that are more easily contained.

Wildfires can be reported by calling 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone or by downloading the BC Wildfire Service app. The mobile app allows individuals to submit photos along with their report, which helps inform the BC Wildfire Service’s operational decision-making.

As well, people should take extreme care to ensure their own activities are not a source of wildfire ignition. Everyone should also be aware of current fire conditions in their area and abide by any existing alerts or evacuation orders.

As conditions change, stay informed by visiting BCWildfire.ca and EmergencyInfoBC.ca or through the BC Wildfire Service app.

BC Wildfire Service crews are working diligently to secure fire guards for active wildfires, doing planned ignition operations, and ensuring that active perimeters of fires are out. The top priority is always to protect people’s lives and property, as well as crucial infrastructure.

The Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness continues to assess capacity for group lodging and is proactively opening other evacuation spaces throughout the province for people who are unable to stay with friends and family.

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This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com
Categories: General