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High fire risk warning from the Coastal Fire Centre

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With most of the coast now at a high fire risk and with a busy long weekend ahead, the Coastal Fire Centre is asking campers and recreators to be extra cautious with campfires.

Fire information officer Julia Caranci says the recent switch in weather is having a large impact on how easily fires can start.

“After a fairly cool and wet spring, we have now really turned a corner in quite a dramatic way and we’ve now shifted into a longer period of hot dry weather,” said Caranci.

“So what that is doing is it is more rapidly drying out the fuels in the forest and what that, in turn, is doing is increasing the fire risks in our forest.”

Conditions are dry enough for small, but significant fires to start. A fire broke out Tuesday night in the Gordon River area, near Lake Cowichan.

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Caranci says the fire grew to the size of a basketball court, or around 0.10 hectares. The fire is now under control with a three-person crew and a response officer.

“It’s definitely a concern,” said Caranci. “Right now we are doing a really good job of hitting these fires fast and hard and that seems to be working really well for us.”

She adds as the hot weather continues, they may see pockets of extreme fire danger show up, and they will be reassessed after the long weekend.

With thousands of travellers expected to come to the coast over the long weekend, Caranci says they are asking campers to be cautious and have all the tools needed to put out a fire if necessary.

“We’re asking the public to be very responsible when they’re out there enjoying the great outdoors,” said Caranci.

“So keep those campfires small, make sure you have your fuel guard around it, don’t ever leave it unattended, have your tools on hand to put it out, your water, and make sure it is cool to the touch before you leave the area.”

BC Wildfire Services asks anyone who may see a wildfire to call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on your cell phone.

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