Wildfire burns in northwestern B.C. day after fire ban introduced

·2 min read
Kitwanga resident Jacob Beaton captured drone footage of a nearby wildfire before emergency crews responded.  (Jacob Beaton - image credit)
Kitwanga resident Jacob Beaton captured drone footage of a nearby wildfire before emergency crews responded. (Jacob Beaton - image credit)

A wildfire that started shortly after a fire ban went into effect in northern B.C. over the weekend continues to burn on Monday.

Officials needed a helicopter and multiple crews to bring a grass fire under control near the village of Kitwanga, about 90 kilometres northeast of Terrace, on Saturday. The fire led to a brief closure of Highway 37.

Kitwanga resident Jacob Beaton spotted the fire and captured drone footage before emergency crews responded.

"It was shockingly large and right in the middle of our community," he said.

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Beaton said it's been weeks since he's seen any precipitation on his farm.

"Our last three springs here have just been ridiculously dry, we haven't had precipitation now in weeks, which is really unusual," he said. "Our climate is just upside down right now. Our last three falls have been record-setting wet seasons and then our springs have been record-setting dry seasons."

The 16-hectare blaze is being held, with five firefighters patrolling the blaze and doing mop-up work, according to the Northwest Fire Centre.

The fire is believed to be human-caused.

A ban on Category 2 and 3 open fires went into effect in the Northwest Fire Centre on Friday due to high winds, dry vegetation and low precipitation, according to Northwest Fire Centre spokesperson Carolyn Bartos.

Bartos said weather forecasts suggest the region could receive some precipitation next week.

Last year's wildfire season in B.C. was the third worst on record in terms of area burned. The season peaked much earlier than usual, with drought conditions and a series of punishing heat waves leading to widespread fire activity, including a blaze that levelled the village of Lytton on June 30 and left two dead.

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