As weather warms, it is already time to start thinking about forest fires.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development is warning that areas of the province that were affected by wildfires last summer could see some hot spots re-emerge from last year’s fires.
An overwintering fire can occur when a wildfire that burned deep underground last year has continued to smoulder all winter long. Given the extent and intensity of many wildfires in the summer of 2018, some of these residual hot spots could flare up with the arrival of warmer and drier weather this spring.
Overwintering fires can remain dormant and undetected all winter long, but hot spots may re-emerge.
Given the large size of many wildfires in B.C. last year, some wildfires burned deep into organic soil layers, increasing the likelihood that overwintering fires will emerge in the spring.
The most common visual signs are smoke, smouldering ground or open flame within the wildfire’s original perimeter (the outer boundary of a fire).
Most overwintering fires will occur well within the original fire’s perimeter. Many areas near communities where wildfires burned last year are being actively patrolled by firefighters and scanned using thermal imaging technology.