BC Wildfire Service says it's not imposing a backcountry ban, in part because of staffing issues

No backcountry ban yet

Don’t expect to see the use of B.C.’s backcountry outlawed any time soon, despite the hundreds of fires currently burning across the province.

BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Noelle Kekula said Wednesday the agency is hesitant to institute such a ban, which it has the authority to impose, in part because of resourcing.

“The public has really been requesting one,” Kekula said.

“But the reason we haven’t gone into a backcountry closure yet is that the enforcement of a backcountry closure is going to be incredibly difficult to enforce. Many of our resources are already being deployed to all the fires that are in the area.”

A backcountry ban was imposed in 2017, when fires raged across much of B.C.’s Interior. The thinking was limiting activity in the backcountry would reduce the number of human-caused fires.

But, Kekula said, outdoor enthusiasts in B.C.’s backcountry can sometimes prove helpful in the fight against wildfires.

“Certain people in the backcountry report fires to us,” she said.

“With it being so smoky, it’s really difficult to see what’s out there. So people out there are kind of some extra eyes and ears we have out there.”

According to Kekula, the option will remain on the table.

“We haven’t felt the need to go into a backcountry closure,” she said.

“Everyday, we monitor and discuss. It is definitely being discussed among folks, and it continues to be a part of our discussion.”

More BC News