British Columbia Firefighters Battle Dozens of Suspected 'Human-Caused' Blazes

“Sustained severe drought conditions” exacerbated dozens of wildfires burning in British Columbia, officials said on Sunday, May 14.

This footage was posted to Facebook by the British Columbia (BC) Wildfire Service.

Incident Commander Scott Rennick urged the public to use extreme caution as more than 41 wildfires burned in the central and northeast portion of the province on Sunday, “most of which are suspected to be human-caused.”

“With summer-like conditions and record-breaking temperatures, the BC Wildfire Service urges the public to be diligent when recreating in the backcountry or while conducting industrial activities,” the BC Forest Service said. “Human-caused wildfires are completely preventable. Please use extreme caution and always practice safe, responsible fire use where permitted.”

As of Monday, 56 active wildfires were burning across the province. Neighboring Alberta reported 90 active wildfires Monday. Credit: BC Wildfire Service via Storyful

Video transcript

SCOTT RENNICK: It's been discussed before about these severe, and even record breaking drought conditions that we're in at this point in time. And we're seeing them, the full fruition now in the fire starts that we're experiencing. Most of these are suspected human cause. So at this point in time with where we are with the low humidity, the high temperatures, the wind, and again, the sustained drought that's been potentially carried over even from last fall, almost any kind of activity can cause fires.

So we're urging the public to really be careful with any kind of activities you're doing, in the forest, recreating, industrial, even grasslands at this point in time. But we're just urging people to please help us just be careful with your activities out there right now, understanding that this is not a usual May. This is not even an abnormally dry May. This is something exceptional that we're seeing right now. We just need the public's help really, in regards to reducing the number of fire starts we have to help us really get control of what we have right now, which are very aggressive fires. And the more we get, the more it stretches us, and the harder this is going to be for us to maintain the situation that we're in right now.