Minister of Forestry is reminds the public to 'be vigilant'

Prevent pandemic wildfires

The Southern Interior is about to head into a hot weekend and amidst a pandemic.

"We've had a slow start to the 2020 fire season, but we need to remain vigilant," said Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson, during a press conference announcing a new research chair at Thompson Rivers University that will help in wildfire prediction and response in BC. 

"The heatwave is upon us in many parts of the province, and we also know that August is typically a very high month for wildfire starts," he added

So far this year, 85 per cent of the wildfires that have sprung up in the province have been human-caused. 

"I would like people to remember that and think not only of their actions when it comes to preventing wildfires but the impact that it could have it could have on others," the Minister continued, "Specifically our BC wildfire fighting crews and contract crews and others in the community who would need to go out and address wildfires during these times of COVID-19." 

Crews have been assembling in smaller pod units to train for the upcoming wildfire season, with frequent coronavirus symptom monitoring.  

The Ministry has also taken a number of measures around how they attack wildfires directly.

In addition to usual safety measures, firefighters now have to protect themselves from two dangers: wildfires and COVID-19.  

"Please don't let your guards down," Donaldson emphasized, "Enjoy the outdoors, and make sure you're taking responsibility for your own actions and taking into consideration the safety of communities and fire fighters as well."

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