Do not take unnecessary risks in the backcountry
Whatever your activities this summer, remember wildfire crews are working in the bush.
The public is asked to be mindful of the needs of B.C.’s wildfire response by making a careful trip plan when hiking and being careful in the backcountry, urges the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and Emergency Management BC in a July 25 media release.
“Not only is there a high risk of wildfire throughout the province, there have also been incidents this summer requiring BC Wildfire Service support for the co-ordinated rescues of hikers. These calls require the diversion of helicopters from the fire line and may challenge progress on fire suppression efforts,” the release outlined.
While aviation resources are being used throughout the province by the BC Wildfire Service, there are processes for these resources to be accessed by search and rescue when they are required.
The province thanks recreationalists for reporting fires that they have spotted, in backcountry areas and elsewhere. A small fire can quickly become a serious wildfire. Report a wildfire by dialing *5555 on a cellphone or calling toll-free: 1 800 663-5555.
While most provincial parks remain open for recreational and camping activities, due to the serious nature of the current wildfire situation, BC Parks, in co-ordination with the BC Wildfire Service, has closed numerous parks to protect public safety.
A list of BC Parks closures is available online. St. Mary’s Alpine Provincial Park is the only East Kootenay provincial park that is closed at this time. There is a partial closure of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy.
Prior to closing parks, multiple factors are taken into consideration, such as weather conditions and forecasts, access routes, the presence of active fires and fire-danger ratings. Wildfires are dynamic, and circumstances can change quickly. BC Parks and the BC Wildfire Service assess situations daily.
British Columbians and visitors are urged to follow the instructions of BC Parks staff, BC Wildfire Service officials, the RCMP, conservation officers and other authorized personnel in these areas.
Destination BC’s “Know Before You Go” web page is regularly updated and serves as a one-stop shop for visitors looking to access key information resources such as DriveBC, the BC Wildfire Service, Emergency Management BC and more.
It is important to recognize that British Columbia is a large and diverse province. Many areas are not directly affected and are open for business.
If the area you were planning to travel to is impacted by wildfires, or under an evacuation alert or order, connect with a local visitor centre to rebook your trip to another area of the province.
Be safe in the backcountry
As conditions can change rapidly, it is important to verify information from official sources, before you leave and during your trip, so you can make informed travel decisions. Check BC Wildfire Service for fire bans and fire safety tips.
AdventureSmart balances key safety messages with an individual’s responsibility for safety, encouraging the public to obtain the knowledge, skills and equipment necessary to enjoy outdoor pursuits. By being AdventureSmart, outdoor recreationalists make informed decisions, reducing the frequency, severity and duration of search and rescue incidents.
PreparedBC is British Columbia’s one-stop shop for disaster readiness information. For tips on seasonal readiness, how to prepare an emergency plan and what to include in an emergency kit, visit PreparedBC.
e-KNOW file photo