The cool and damp summer may have not appealed to summer enthusiasts, but it has certainly eased the worries associated with fire season.
Since April 1, the Kamloops Fire Centre has calculated 115 fires.
“It’s the slowest fire season in 10 years,” said Kayla Pepper, fire information officer for the Kamloops Fire Centre.
The average of the last ten years was recently calculated, revealing an annual average of 385 fires.
“There have been lower temperatures than average and higher precipitation,” Pepper said.
But as quickly as the weather has changed, so too has the status of fires in the Thompson-Nicola region.
Merritt was put on extreme danger wildfire rating over the weekend.
“It’s the highest rating,” Pepper said.
The rating means there is higher potential for fires to spread and start.
“Our weather stations report to us information about temperature, the relative humidity, precipitation in the area and wind speeds,” she said.
The extreme high danger rating kept the fire centre busy over the weekend.
In the Nicola Valley, there was a grassland fire.
“It grew to 5.5 hectares. It was fortunate that it was blocked by a road and a ravine which were a natural fuel-break and stopped the fire from going any further,” Pepper said.
She also said there were 12 abandoned campfires caught over the weekend.
“Some people think that they’ve put out their campfires, but they start back up,” she said.
“If you’re not confident putting your hand in it, it’s probably not out.”
Of the 115 fires this season, 91 were caused by people.
“100 per cent of them were preventable,” Pepper said.
There is a $345 fine for failing to put out a campfire.
Citizens can prevent fires by keeping campfires below half a metre by half a metre, creating a firebreak by digging a deep pit and removing dead brush around the perimeter of the fire, keeping about eight litres of water on hand and never leaving campfires unattended.
Pepper said it is also important for people to educate themselves about fire restrictions in their area and can do so by visiting: bcforestfireinfo.gov.bc.ca.
To report a fire call *5555 on your cell phone or toll free at 1-800-663-5555.
Update at press time:
The fire danger rating for Merritt is currently at high to extreme and as of noon on Friday, Aug. 12, all open burning, including campfires and fireworks will be prohibited across the Merritt and Lillooet fire zones within the Kamloops Fire Centre.