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Drought Conditions Mean Ongoing Risk of Wildfire

Vancouver Island is now under a Level 5 drought advisory, the most severe drought level in the province.

The 2021 wildfire season in BC has been a dramatic one, having already surpassed the 10-year average for hectares burned of just under 349,000 hectares. The BC Wildfire Service says this year more than 900,000 hectares of land have been burned byover 1,500 wildfires since the season began April 1.

And while we are now enjoying more seasonal weather conditions in parts of BC, drought conditions persist. In fact, all of Vancouver Island is now under a Level 5 drought advisory, the most severe drought level in the province. BC ranks drought levels from 0 to 5, with Drought Level 5 rated as the most severe.

The Drought Code is a numeric rating of the average moisture content of deep, compact organic layers. This code is a useful indicator of the effects of seasonal drought on forest fuels and the amount of smouldering that may occur in deep duff layers and within large logs. The BC Drought Information Portal provides information on provincial drought levels, historical drought time-lapse information and other drought information. Drought levels and other data are updated regularly as it becomes available.

Because drought conditions continue to create a significant risk of wildfire in BC, burning restrictions remain in effect. For the latest information on burning restrictions in your area, check local advisories or visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/fire-bans-and-restrictions

Wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Pay close attention to weather and drought conditions, which can affect the flammability of vegetation. And avoid activities that involve fire when it’s hot, dry and windy. If the conditions aren’t right, choose non-flammable options. Remember, local restrictions should guide your decision for any fire-related activity such as building a campfire or operating equipment.