All but three wildfires this season are human caused: BC Wildfires Service

A fire near Charlie Lake from April of 2016

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — It turns out all but three of the first 163 wildfires reported this season across the province were human caused.

B.C.’s Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek  says not only is that cause for alarm, but so is the number of fires for this time of year.

69 of the fires, or about 42 per cent, were in the Prince George Fire Centre. More than double the totals of four of the other five centres in the province, with the only exception being the adjacent Cariboo Centre on the PG Centre southern boundary, with 37.

However, what really stands out in this latest report is the Prince George Centre burn area which is 93 and half percent of the province wide total.

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Steve Thomson is urging all BC residents to learn more about the FireSmart program, and do their part in helping to minimize the wildfire threat to their property  by obeying all fire bans and restrictions — and then focusing on the programs three priority zones.

The first one is within 10 metres of a structure where any kind of combustible vegetation should be removed, the grass mowed and watered, and woodpiles and propane tanks removed to areas away from vegetation.

It’s also best to have roofs made of fire-resistant materials — and to ensure they and all eaves troughs are clear of combustible debris and overhanging trees.

Removal of deadfall and thick shrubs, and the thinning and pruning of vegetation and trees is recommended in the other two areas, those 10 to 30 metres from a structure, and then extending from 30 to 100 metres.

Also in these areas tree crowns should be three to six feet apart and when planting new trees focus on deciduous species such as aspen, poplar and birch