The B.C. Wildfire Service is preparing for increased wildfire activity and urges the public to be cautious with any activities in the backcountry.

Volatile weekend ahead for wildfire activity

Hot and dry weather is in the forecast throughout the area this week.

Hot and dry weather is in the forecast throughout the area this week.

The B.C. Wildfire Service is preparing for increased wildfire activity and urges the public to be cautious with any activities in the backcountry.

“Given the weather forecast this weekend, the wildfire threat in B.C. will almost certainly increase. I’d like to remind all British Columbians to be extra vigilant and follow the rules while enjoying the outdoors this weekend,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations.

From April 1, 2016, until noon yesterday, the B.C. Wildfire Service responded to 873 wildfires, 403 of which were caused by people. Human-caused fires are completely preventable and divert critical firefighting resources from naturally occurring, lightning-caused wildfires.

The fire danger rating throughout the province is generally “moderate” to “high,” with many pockets of “extreme.” As these ratings continue to climb, British Columbians are urged to do everything they can to prevent human-caused wildfires.

Currently there is no fireban in the South Okanagan, but Penticton’s Deputy fire chief Dave Spalding said there could be one soon.

“With the wildfire rating reaching a five (extreme) in the last couple of days we are expecting a ban to be issued very soon, possibly as early as next week. The only restriction in the City of Penticton is there is no open burning allowed outside an approved beach fire pit, or approved outdoor fireplace/appliance,” said Spalding.

Temperatures are expected to remain high across the Okanagan throughout the week and because of that WorkSafeBC is alerting employers and workers of an increased risk of developing symptoms of heat stress and heat stroke.

Heat stress occurs when your internal temperature increases faster than the body can cool itself. Symptoms include excess sweating, dizziness and nausea. If not addressed quickly, additional symptoms such as heat cramps, or potentially lethal heat stroke can rapidly develop.

Heat stress can be prevented by drinking plenty of water (one glass every 20 minutes), wear light-coloured, loose fitting clothing, take rest breaks in a cool well ventilated area, do the hardest physical work during the coolest parts of the day and make sure you know your own personal risk factors such as medications, skin disorders, sleep deprivation, poor physical fitness and pre-existing medical conditions.

Info on fire bans is available http://bcfireinfo.for.gov.bc.ca/hprScripts/WildfireNews/Bans.asp

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