Extreme fire hazard rating in local woods

Conditions are kindling dry in the woods around Campbell River

Conditions are kindling dry in the woods around Campbell River.

Wildfire BC listed the forest fire hazard for the area west of Campbell River as extreme yesterday.

“We haven’t had any appreciable, steady precipitation in that area,” said fire information officer Donna MacPherson.

What’s more, the nights have been dry as well, as evidenced by no dew on the ground in the mornings. Overnight condensation allows the forest to recover somewhat but with dryness persisting into the night, the forest is not recovering.

An extreme rating means extremely dry forest fuels and the fire risk is very serious. New fires will start easily, spread rapidly, and challenge fire suppression efforts. General forest activities may be restricted, including open burning, industrial activities and campfires.

So far, there has been no significant fires in the area and part of the reason for that has been the absence of lightning strikes in the North Island, unlike the south Island and the Lower Mainland. Any fire activity there is has been caused by people.

“The more careful people are, the less chance we have of having (a fire),” MacPherson said.

MacPherson said that despite the extreme fire hazard rating, things are about normal for this time of the year. There usually is a 6-8 week period in late summer where conditions get tinder dry.

“It’s about average for this time of year,” MacPherson said.

So far, no campfire bans have been put in place and people can help in preventing the need for one. Any fire activity there is has not been caused by campfires so as long as people are proving to be careful with their fires, the fire centre can hold off longer before placing a ban.

Hot dry weather is expected to continue today with temperatures of 29 degrees predicted into the weekend.

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