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Nearly 50 times less forest has burned this fire season when compared to last year

The Kamloops Fire Centre lists just four wildfires of note across the region so far this season. The Nohomin Creek Wildfire was discovered on July 14, about two kilometres northwest of Lytton.
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"This year, it was quite a bit wet and cooler for a longer period and we didn't see as much activity until really the last two weeks or so," says fire information officer Aydan Coray.

The Kamloops Fire Centre lists just four wildfires of note across the region so far this season.

The Nohomin Creek Wildfire was discovered on July 14, about two kilometres northwest of Lytton. The Keremeos Creek Wildfire was discovered on July 29, about 21 kilometres southwest of Penticton. The Maria Creek Wildfire sits north of Lillooet and was discovered on July 31. The Watching Creek Wildfire is 16 kilometres northwest of Kamloops and was found on July 29.

This season has been dramatically calmer when compared to last year.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, from April 1 to Aug. 2, 2021, a total of 273,019 hectares had already burned. This season just 5,600 hectares of forest has burned in that same period — a nearly fiftyfold reduction.

For context, Kelowna's Knox Mountain Park is 385 hectares.

The 2021 season saw 381 total starts in the Kamloops Fire Centre with 116 being lightning caused. So far this season, there have been 148 starts, with 51 caused by lighting.

"This year compared to last year, we had a cooler, wetter start to the fire season. So, last year we were seeing wildfires of note pop up early-mid to late June. We were seeing an increase in activity with the heat dome and all that," says fire information officer Aydan Coray.

"This year, it was quite a bit wet and cooler for a longer period and we didn't see as much activity until really the last two weeks or so."

Coray says wildfire crews are watching the Keremeos Creek wildfire southwest of Penticton closely.

"We have had ground crews and structural protection crews on it every single night since it started. We currently have about 144 ground personnel assigned to the fire."

The Kamloops Fire Centre is also imposing a campfire ban, which takes effect Thursday.

Fines for breaking the open burning ban range from a ticket of $1,150 to an administrative penalty of up to $100,000.

To report a wildfire, call 1-800 663-5555. BC Wildfire also has a new service on its mobile app that allows residents to report a wildfire.

"This feature allows members of the public to tell us exactly where they are and what they are seeing by sending us photos. You can send a photo directly through the app, and it helps us make those decisions just that much quicker," Coray said.

From Friday to Sunday, a total of 15 reports came through the app and 13 came with photos.

"Every single report with photos is taken to our operations team, and they take those seriously, so those are extremely helpful," Coray added.