Lightning blankets the Southern Interior of B.C. sparking 22 new wildfires in the region. Image: Kayleigh Seibel/Black Press Media

Non-wildfire related calls line plague dispatchers, block line

The logjam of callers Tuesday night resulted in long wait times for people legitimately calling about new fire activity.

Responders at BC Wildfire Service have an important message for everyone.

Do not call their *5555 emergency number set up to report fires, unless you are actually reporting a fire.

Tuesday night saw 38 new fires spark across the province and an overwhelming number of calls flooded the fire reporting line.

The logjam of callers resulted in long wait times for people legitimately calling about new fire activity.

Related: More lightning forecast as storm sparks 38 new wildfires in B.C.

Related: 911 jams causes panic among residents

Related: More thunderstorms on the way as fires still burn

And that’s partly because some people were calling just to get updates on fire activity in their area.

“There were individuals in some areas that had challenges getting through,” said Claire Allen, fire information officer.

“We really appreciate the calls, but we want to make sure it stays a reporting line,” said Allen.

Another problem was people reporting fires that weren’t new, and many of those calls came from the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, she said.

“That’s a very dense population corridor and the fires that broke out last night were extremely visible.”

Allen stressed that calls from the public to report fires are “invaluable to us,” while urging responsible use of *5555.

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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