Trees, dollars burning up in forest blazes

Trees, dollars burning up in forest blazes

24 June 2009

published by

Canada —

Dry spring conditions, combined with lightning and human carelessness, is threatening to burn up the woods along with the provincial firefighting budget.

“The Tyaughton Lake fire [65 kilometres west of Lillooet] has cost a significant amount of money, about $4.5 million,” said Forest Minister Pat Bell. “We’re spending $1 million a day fighting fires and we only have a $62 million budget. We’re going burn through that quickly.”

The minister announced last week that firefighters from Alberta and Ontario were coming to help douse forest fires in the B.C. woods.

The Tyaughton Lake fire reached 8,000 hectares in size before it was contained.

Since April 1, forest fire crews have responded to almost 500 blazes across the province, 84 per cent of which were caused by people.

Open burning is under a ban in the Coastal region, but campfires are still allowed for now. Bell wouldn’t say if a campfire ban is imminent, only that conditions are being evaluated daily.

In addition, he warns that anyone found to have purposely caused a fire will be prosecuted.

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