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Posted: July 7, 2015

B.C. on high alert

The provincial government is cautioning all British Columbians to be diligent with fire safety and report all wildfires to authorities as 185 active fires are being fought across British Columbia (B.C.) with nine evacuation alerts and orders currently in effect, impacting over 800 homes, including in the East Kootenay.

With extreme fire hazard rating in many areas, and hot and dry weather conditions continuing to present challenges to firefighting efforts, new fires continue to come on line stretching resources thinner.

British Columbians are urged to be responsible and abide by all fire bans and evacuation orders until conditions change, an Emergency Management BC press release urges.

Campfire bans have now been implemented across the province. Failure to abide by the Wildfire Act, including open burning restrictions, can result in a $345 fine. Anyone who causes damage to Crown forest or grass land through arson or recklessness can be fined up to $1 million or spend up to three years in prison.

Extremely dry conditions and hot weather are a fearsome combination, so please refrain from setting fires of any kind at this time.

Report all wildfires

Human-caused wildfires are preventable and the public is B.C.’s first line of defence against forest fires. Please be diligent when in the backcountry, and report all wildfires to 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on your mobile phone.

Because of all the fires burning, air quality has been severely compromised in many areas of the province.

Emergency Management BC recommends that if you see or smell smoke in the air, you’re encouraged to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, especially people with chronic underlying medical conditions. Staying indoors and in air-conditioned spaces helps to reduce fine particulate exposure. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying respiratory conditions – like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – or heart disease.

For information on current air quality readings in B.C. please visit www.bcairquality.ca

Emergency Social Services (ESS) support has been provided for over 200 people in B.C. due to the wildfires east of Kelowna and in Port Hardy.

ESS is temporary public aid that provides up to 72 hours of essentials like lodging and food service, as well as emergency supplies and absolute necessities.

For current information on current wildfires and open burning prohibitions in your area, as well as fire safety tips, see: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcwildfire/ and http://ow.ly/PfwC6

For current Evacuation Alerts and Orders in B.C., see: www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca

To learn about how to prevent wildfires and what to do if your community receives an Evacuation Alert or Order, visit: http://ow.ly/PfsPl and http://ow.ly/PftLE

The Homeowner’s FireSmart Manual helps inform people on how to reduce the risk of personal property damage due to wildfires: http://ow.ly/PfpqL

e-KNOW


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