The BC Wildfire Service says scattered thunderstorms forecast throughout the central and southern Interior could bring lightning, and the risk of ignitions was expected to extend into northern regions today. It says a transition to cooler, wetter weather is predicted starting Sunday. A status update from the service says exceptional, summer-like conditions have dried out forest fuels in the province, creating conditions that make some regions “highly susceptible” to the ignition and rapid spread of fires. Wildfires have charred more than 13-hundred square kilometres of land in the province, eclipsing the area burned at the same time last year, as well as the 10-year average of about 120 square kilometres.
Campfires are set to be banned starting at noon in the Prince George Fire Centre, an area that spans much of northeastern BC. That’s where most of the wildfire activity has so far been concentrated, with the BC Wildfire Service attributing the “vast majority” of ignitions to human activity. The ban follows a prohibition on open burning that came into effect across the province this week, covering the larger Category 2 and 3 fires. The Thompson Nicola Regional District is meanwhile calling on the province to ban campfires across the Kamloops Fire Centre ahead of the long weekend.
Police in Vancouver say they’re searching for an alleged serial fraudster who’s wanted Canada wide after breaching his bail conditions and failing to attend court. They say the 47-year-old man had been on 24-hour house arrest after being charged with numerous fraud, forgery, threats and firearms offences in the city, but he failed to show up for a court appearance last month and hasn’t been found. The man is described as five-foot-five and weighing 155 pounds, with black hair. Police say he’s considered armed and dangerous, with a history of violence, and anyone who sees him is asked to call them immediately.
BC has announced 11-million dollars in grant funding to a non-profit in Vancouver aimed at empowering tenants of privately run single-room occupancy hotels. A statement from the Housing Ministry says the one-time funding boost is going to the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative Society to support life-skills training programs that include fire safety and overdose prevention training. It says the programming is expected to reach more than 27-hundred tenants. The society’s executive director, Wendy Pedersen, says the buildings are a last resort for people before homelessness, and improving their habitability will make them safer while strengthening community connections.
The Insurance Corporation of BC is warning that roads will be busier than usual this weekend and the Crown agency is asking people to drive carefully. It says, on average, two people are killed and 480 people are injured in crashes during the Victoria Day long weekend each year. ICBC says speed is a top contributing factor in those crashes. It says more police will be working this weekend with plans to focus on speeding drivers.