B.C. hopeful COVID-19 restrictions will mean fewer human-caused wildfires

Officials observe a wildfire in B.C. in July 2017. B.C. Government Photo

By Carl Meyer | News, Federal policy for B.C.

With COVID-19 restrictions limiting people’s movement and behaviour, the normally large impact of human activity on wildfires in British Columbia is a wild card this year, say federal and provincial analysts.

Human activity — anything from careless campers dropping cigarettes to industrial accidents, sparks flying from trains, or car crashes — is responsible for about slightly more than half of all wildfires nationwide, and about 40 per cent in B.C.

On Monday, the provincial government concluded that the hugely destructive 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire was caused by a type of human activity — specifically, “smoking materials,” which includes cigarettes, matches, cigars and pipes.