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Province advises public to 'Be FireSmart' safe this long weekend

Province of British Columbia
By Province of British Columbia
May 16th, 2024

Residents and long-weekend travellers are asked to plan ahead, be FireSmart and stay safe this Victoria Day long weekend.

Wildfires near Fort Nelson and the Fort Nelson First Nation resulted in early season evacuation orders and alerts for several northeastern communities in the region. Visitors should avoid the Fort Nelson area at this time. Highway 97 remains closed in both directions around Fort Nelson.

For the latest road conditions and updates, visit DriveBC.

This time of year, most new wildfires are preventable, and people are being asked to use caution and take steps to be more prepared this weekend. Throughout the province, people are encouraged to stay up to date on current wildfire activity and check for road closures, evacuation alerts and orders, weather conditions and follow instructions from local governments or First Nations. Several open-burning prohibitions are also in place around the province and are updated as conditions change.

A full list of resources, websites and apps, including information on the upgraded BC Wildfire Service mobile app, are available to the public is available in the Learn More section below.

Visitors to B.C. and people travelling within the province are encouraged to “know before they go.” Those who are on the road this long weekend should plan ahead and obey road closures and restrictions to ensure safety.

Drivers on routes throughout the province should expect higher-than-average traffic volumes and plan accordingly. General tips for a safe trip include:

  • allowing additional time to get to your destination due to more people on roads;
  • making sure your vehicle is ready for the drive by having a full tank of gas or charged battery, checking engine oil, washer fluid, lights and tires, including the spare;
  • packing food and water for passengers and pets;
  • planning breaks at rest areas:;
  • watching for motorcyclists and sharing the road with cyclists and other users;
  • obeying all posted speed limits and driving with caution, especially during bad weather;
  • checking weather forecasts for the route you will be travelling as conditions can change quickly in the mountain passes;
  • leaving the phone alone while behind the wheel;
  • ensuring all passengers use seatbelts at all times; and
  • never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

People are also asked to do their part by reporting any wildfires – even if they may have already been reported – to either *5555 on a cellphone or 1 800 663-5555 toll-free.

The newly improved BC Wildfire Service mobile app allows people to check the current wildfire situation, road conditions, evacuation information and weather forecasts. Users can also report new wildfires and submit photos, which helps inform BC Wildfire Service operational decision-making.

There are also several ways to help protect your property from wildfires while you are away. Whether you are in an urban or rural area, these proven FireSmart tips can help you safeguard your home and property:

  • Clear dry leaves and debris from around your property.
  • Move propane tanks and other flammables at least 10 metres from structures.
  • Keep grass cut short.
  • Close doors and windows.
  • Water trees, shrubs and plants, following local water restrictions.

Many garden centres in communities around the province can help people choose more fire-resistant plants and help people create a more resilient landscape around their homes and neighbourhoods.

As of Wednesday, May 15, 2024, there were 133 active wildfires burning in B.C. Of these fires, 13 were considered out-of-control.

Learn More:

Categories: General

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