The province is urging the public to stay safe and aware of wildfire risks as people travel around British Columbia to spend Victoria Day long weekend with friends and family and enjoy the beautiful, great outdoors.
“As British Columbians head out to enjoy the long weekend, we are urging people to take precautions to be fire and emergency safe,” said Premier John Horgan, in a news release. “The province has taken significant steps to make sure that we’re ready for the 2019 fire season, including new investments in fire prevention and fire response, but we all have a part to play to protect our communities and province.”
The B.C. government increased wildfire prevention, response and recovery investments by 58 per cent to $101 million per year to keep British Columbians safe.
The B.C. government will put a strong emphasis on fire prevention in the months ahead. A wildfire prevention information campaign will run from mid-May to early September on radio, television and online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify.
The goal is to ensure that people have the information they need to stay safe and protect their families and homes. This year’s campaign focuses on wildfire prevention, how to report wildfires, the safe disposal of cigarettes, and using campfires and off-road vehicles responsibly.
“We all need to do our part to reduce wildfire risk and keep communities safe,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “I encourage those people staying home over the long weekend to take steps to FireSmart their property.”
Much of the province has experienced above-average temperatures in recent weeks, which means that forest fuels are drying out and fire danger ratings have increased in many areas. Most wildfires in the spring are caused by human activity and therefore are entirely preventable. The B.C. Wildfire Service has already responded to 176 fires since April 1, 2019.
“Wildfires are often unpredictable, so for that reason, I encourage people living in rural areas to take the time to prepare their grab-and-go bags and emergency kits well in advance,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “We’ve expanded our partners in preparedness program, so people can buy kits from more retailers, and have also launched a new PreparedBC Facebook page.”
To report a wildfire, unattended campfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, call 1 888 3-FOREST or visit: www.bcwildfire.ca
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