With BC’s wildfire season showing signs of slowing down, officials say it’s possible the provincial state of emergency could be lifted this week.
It’s been in effect since July 7.
Chris Duffy from Emergency Management BC expects that to happen Friday, which will also have an impact on emergency centres.
“Given some of the improving conditions, I expect we will see a reduction in activation levels or status in our operation centres toward the end of the week, and slowly tapering that down,” says Duffy.
While there are still 155 fires burning in BC, Duffy says the number of evacuated residents is down to 3,202, while 7,250 are on evacuation alert.
“It’s Day 137 for a lot of our operational (emergency) staff, so it’s been a long and arduous season (flooding and fires), so some folks are looking forward to that potential (of reduced activation level).”
The BC Wildfire Service says it will be reviewing restrictions imposed earlier this summer, now that the risk of fires is a bit less.
Spokesman Kevin Skrepnek says the cooler, wetter weather has helped the situation .
“I think we’ll be taking a hard look at stuff like the off-road vehicle prohibition, given that the top layer of the forest floor is likely a little less receptive to fire.”
Off-road vehicles like ATV’s have been banned from the back country in the Kamloops, Cariboo and Southeast fire centres since early August due to the fire danger.
Skrepnek says campfire bans are still in place for most of southern BC.
“If and when we look at lifting those, just given we still have a huge degree of dryness deeper down, campfires are something we’ll have to be really aware of, making sure people are safe with them, and once they’re allowed, making sure they are fully extinguished.”