A wildfire burnt nearly 16 acres of grass and woodlands near Crow Point before being extinguished by firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service on May 9, 2020.. (Courtesy photo | Capital City Fire/Rescue)

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Despite a slow start to fire season, blazes are now burning in British Columbia’s Southern Interior.

Recent fires are burning in Kamloops Fire Centre’s area, including but not limited to the Dry Lake fire near Princeton.

And, in the Southeast Fire Centre, new wildfire activity has been observed in recent days.

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province, and in some past years, the amount of damage has been staggering.

The 2017 wildfire season resulted in more than 1.2 million hectares burned, and the 2018 wildfire season left more than 1.35 million hectares burned.

READ ALSO: Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

READ ALSO: UPDATE: Wildfire between Summerland and Penticton now ‘under control’

These two fire seasons are the worst on record in British Columbia. The smoky skies and daily fire updates are things few will ever forget.

Other wildfire seasons of note include 2014 and 2003. Both of these affected the Southern Interior of B.C.

Throughout the province, charred trees still stand as memorials to past fire seasons.

There are also tens of thousands of British Columbians who can recall times when fires came close to their homes, resulting in evacuations.

Our present fire season, while not nearly as devastating as in past years, should serve as a reminder that while we live in a beautiful part of the world, there are also natural disasters that can occur here.

It is up to us to be prepared when wildfires occur and it is up to us to do our part to prevent human-caused fires.

Precautions should include having a grab-and-go bag handy and ensuring fire prevention measures have been taken, especially at rural and interface properties.

Preventing human-caused fires is equally important.

This includes not discarding cigarette butts, especially in dry areas. It also includes using fire safety when camping and foregoing the campfire entirely if conditions are not good.

Campfires are still allowed, but in much of our region, the fire danger rating is high or extreme.

This is a time to use caution.

The fire safety measures we take can help to prevent a devastating wildfire season this year.

— Black Press

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