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B.C. crews battle 11 small wildfires over Easter weekend

April 14, 2020
By The Canadian Press

April 14, 2020, Kamloops, B.C. – The BC Wildfire Service lists the fire danger rating across most of the province as low to moderate but firefighters in several regions still had a busy Easter weekend.

The wildfire service website shows crews responded to 11 blazes between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Most were barely larger than spot fires and were quickly handled, but of the eight reported on Sunday, four remained listed as out of control by midnight.

They included a fire covering half a square kilometre in the southern Interior east of Merritt, and two of three separate fires along Highway 3 south of Cawston in the Similkameen region.

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A cause for most of the wildfires is listed as unknown.

Grass fires can be common at this time of year as dead grasses dry quickly after snow cover melts and have the potential to burn hot and fast, especially in windy conditions.

Most open burning across B.C. is to be prohibited starting Thursday, although campfires will still be allowed.

In collaboration with the province’s public health officials, open burning restrictions were issued in March for areas where smoky conditions could increase the chance of respiratory viral infections.

Affected regions include much of the inner south coast and southeastern Vancouver Island, the Okanagan Valley, the Prince George area and parts of B.C.’s southeast corner.

The ban was in response to a growing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, but is to be lifted Wednesday in anticipation of the more extensive open-burning ban which takes its place the following day.