B.C. Wildfire Service Battles Burgess Creek Fire as Early Wildfire Season Concerns Grow

Wildfire season starts early in BC as Burgess Creek fire grows, prompting evacuation alerts. Firefighters battle 7 human-caused blazes, raising concerns about an intense season ahead.

Sakchi Khandelwal
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B.C. Wildfire Service Battles Burgess Creek Fire as Early Wildfire Season Concerns Grow

B.C. Wildfire Service Battles Burgess Creek Fire as Early Wildfire Season Concerns Grow

The B.C. Wildfire Service is battling the Burgess Creek fire, one of seven human-caused wildfires reported in the Cariboo region on Saturday afternoon.

The Burgess Creek fire, located about 45 kilometers south of Quesnel, has grown to 16 square kilometres as of Sunday, prompting concerns over an early start to the wildfire season.

Firefighters are on the scene supported by heavy equipment and aircraft, but there are currently no evacuation orders or alerts associated with the fire. The Cariboo Regional District has issued an evacuation alert for six parcels of land in the area due to the potential danger to life and health from the wildfire.

The fire is burning within a series of logging blocks and the dry conditions and variable winds are making it challenging to control, though it did not see much growth on Sunday. "The fire is not responding to suppression efforts," according to the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS).

The Burgess Creek fire is one of the largest in the Cariboo area, with the other six fires being classified as 'held' or 'under control'. Two of the wildfires, including the Skoonka Creek fire, are also believed to be human-caused. In total, the B.C. government is reporting 113 active wildfires in the province, with six of them erupting within the past 24 hours.

Why this matters: The early start to the wildfire season in British Columbia is raising concerns, especially after last year's record-breaking season that saw over 2.84 million hectares of forest and land burned and tens of thousands of people forced to evacuate. The BC Wildfire Service is considering the possibility of an early campfire ban due to the persistently warm and dry conditions in the region.

The BCWS says this number of fires on a single day this early in the season is a "pretty substantial number to respond to." Category 2 and 3 fire bans have been in effect in the Cariboo region since March 28 to try to minimize the number of human-caused wildfires. The wildfire service is urging the public to be cautious with any outdoor activities and to ensure they have proper fire safety measures in place.

Key Takeaways

  • Burgess Creek fire, 16 sq km, human-caused, challenging to control
  • 7 human-caused wildfires reported in Cariboo region on Saturday
  • Evacuation alert issued for 6 parcels due to Burgess Creek fire
  • Early start to wildfire season raises concerns after record 2022
  • Fire bans in place to minimize human-caused wildfires in Cariboo