2008 forest fire season very slow

2008 forest fire season very slow

9 September 2008

published by www.bclocalnews.com

Canada — The 2008 fire season has been a bit tame compared to years past.

So far this year there have been 502 wildfires within the Southeast Fire Centre, most of which were small fires caused by lightning that never grew very large due to more than usual rainfall, says Karlie Shaughnessy, fire information officer at the Southeast Fire Centre.t

Compared to 460 fires in 2007 which burned 16,215 hectares of forest, this year is quite a bit lower with 1,735 hectares burned to date.

Shaughnessy compared these past two years to the 2003 forest fire season, one of the largest fire seasons in the last decade, which engulfed a massive 79,875 ha.

As for how much has been spent on fire suppression, this year just over $14 million has been used, whereas in 2007, about $36 million was spent, and during 2003, a whopping $65.4 million was spent. These numbers include everything used to suppress the fires including wages, fire retardants and helicopters, amongst other expenses.

Currently, there are no active fires in the Arrow Lakes area. The message from the fire centre is, even though it’s been fairly wet and damp, people should be cautious with their campfires and to never leave them unattended.

“We’ve seen a record number of abandoned campfires this year, some of which grew — not specifically in the Arrow Zone, but some of which escaped and caused forests to burn,” says Shaughnessy, adding of the 502 wildfires that have burnt this year, 98 of them were person-caused.

Within Nakusp, bans on categories one, two and type three fires are still in effect, with opening burning barrels and fireworks still banned as well.

Under the Wildfire Act, should an individual be found responsible for causing a wildfire, they could face a fine anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million, one to three years imprisonment, or both fine and jail-time.

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