Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS People gather on the side of the highway to watch a forest fire burn near Revelstoke B.C. Saturday. Restrictions on travel to British Columbia’s backcountry and bans on campfires were lifted in some parts of the province Wednesday as improved conditions lowered the wildfire risk.

Campfire bans lifted in some areas of B.C.

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. — Restrictions on travel to British Columbia’s backcountry and bans on campfires were lifted in some parts of the province on Wednesday as improved conditions lowered the wildfire risk.

Campfires were once again allowed in most areas of the Prince George and northwest fire centres while officials from the BC Wildfire Service say a ban prohibiting access to the backcountry in the Cariboo region was also scheduled to be rescinded by the end of the day.

Kevin Skrepnek of the wildfire service said although calm weather conditions are expected to change in the coming days, forecasted storms shouldn’t be severe and will bring more rain.

The restrictions were extreme and reflected the severity of a historic wildfire season that has seen more than 10,000 square kilometres of land scorched, Skrepnek said.

Campfire bans in the northern parts of the province are rare, Skrepnek said, as was a ban on access to Crown land, such as lakes, forest service roads and recreational sites, in the Cariboo district, which has been hard hit by wildfires.

“Putting the backcountry closure in place was a pretty extraordinary move and we were doing that to basically use every tool we had at our disposal to prevent human-caused fires,” Skrepnek said, adding the last similar ban was in 2003.

“We believe that the threat has lessened to an extent where we’re happy to rein back in something that unusual, that disruptive.”

Gusty winds were expected to pick up with incoming thunderstorms Thursday that could aggravate existing fires in the region, Skrepnek said, which is why access to areas immediately around the 49 fires in the Cariboo remained restricted.

The province was expected to issue maps online highlighting the affected areas.

There were 138 fires burning across B.C. on Wednesday and people were urged to check the provincial wildfire information website for the latest information about bans on campfires and off-road vehicles.

Areas where campfire bans were lifted include the Prince George, Fort St. James, Mackenzie, Peace, Fort Nelson, Skeena Stikine and Coast Mountain forest districts.

Skrepnek said local municipalities may maintain their own restrictions on campfires and people should check with local fire officials to be certain of the rules.

Just Posted

Relatives of murdered family critical of killers’ sentences

Open letter to sentencing judge criticizes ruling allowing killers to apply for parole in 25 years

City rolling out Green Carts

Green Carts used for organics, such as yard waste, food scraps and pet waste

New teaching standards applauded

New code of standards affecting teachers, principals and superintendents to kick in Sept. 1, 2019

UPDATED: Agriculture minister speaks to cattle producers

2018 Alberta Beef Industry Conference underway in Red Deer

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Twenty years later, figure skating’s most famous backflip remains amazing (and illegal)

Figure skating involves spins, jumps, twizzles and a whole host of other… Continue reading

You don’t need to chop like a TV chef to get the job done

Standing in line at the emergency room, makeshift bandage around my finger,… Continue reading

Seychelles swaps debt for groundbreaking marine protection

CURIEUSE ISLAND, Seychelles — With deep blue waters, white sand beaches and… Continue reading

Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising… Continue reading

Red Deer blood clinic in need of 600 donors

Aunt encourages Central Albertans to donate blood after losing nephew

Court considers banning diesel cars in German cities

BERLIN — A German court began considering Thursday whether authorities should ban… Continue reading

US women beat Canada in Olympic hockey; Gisin tops Shiffrin

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — A tense shootout, a dazzling deke and… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month