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Active fire season not anticipated for Prince George area, but preparedness urged

The BC Wildfire Service isn’t anticipating an active wildfire season for the Prince George area, but they’re still urging preparedness.

Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Bowinn Ma, as well as officials from the BC Wildfire Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the BC River Forecast Centre urged British Columbians to be prepared for climate-related hazards as warm weather approaches.

“Spring is a time of change and renewal, but it can also bring unpredictable weather patterns that may cause emergencies,” said Ma.

“If we all take proactive steps to prepare for these events, we can better protect ourselves, our loved ones and our homes, while minimizing the impact of these increasingly common occurrences.”

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Matt MacDonald, Lead Fire Weather Forecaster of the BC Wildfire Service, said contrast to Southern BC, the Northern half of the province has been in sort of a “prolonged winter”.

“There’s still snow on the ground, fuels are buried and rather moist, and so we’re seeing this prolonged winter, taking some time to get into proper spring for the Northern half of the province,” MacDonald said.

“We’re not anticipating an active fire season for the Central Interior in and around Prince George. I need to emphasize how quickly things will change should we get a strong robust ridge of high pressure with above seasonal temperatures melt all that snow, a couple windy days, and those fuels dry out pretty rapidly.”

MacDonald noted that’s what we saw last Spring.

“The month of April and May was very showery, very cool, people were writing off the fire season and we were there reminding people how quickly things can change. Sure enough, mid-July we turned the corner and got into a proper fire season,” he said.

The snowpack for Prince George area remains relatively normal, as the Upper Fraser East snow basin is a bit low at 87 per cent of normal, while the Upper Fraser West is at 111 per cent.

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