The Prince George Fire Centre accounts for the vast majority of land burned since April 1st of this year. As of writing on June 17th, nearly 324,000 hectares have been burned across the province – including about 322,000 hectares of land in the Prince George Fire Centre. /BC WILDFIRE SERVICE

By Abigail Popple, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, RMG

The Prince George Fire Centre is the site of the most wildfires out of any centre in B.C., according to data from the BC Wildfire Service. 

At a press conference on June 12th, Lead Fire Weather Forecaster for the BC Wildfire Service Matt MacDonald said persistent drought is contributing to Prince George Fire Centre’s vulnerability to fires. The centre started 2024 with 88 holdover fires from the 2023 fire season, and while 15 of these fires have successfully been extinguished over the past few weeks, 11 grew due to hot, dry, and windy conditions this spring, according to MacDonald.

As of writing on June 17th, there is currently one fire in the Robson Valley still listed on the Wildfire Service dashboard: the Crescent Spur fire started on May 10th, which prompted the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George to issue an evacuation alert later that evening. The fire is currently listed as under control. 

The Service suspects the wildfire is human-caused, says the dashboard. According to MacDonald, human-caused wildfires are usually unintentional and can result from railway sparks lighting nearby vegetation, vehicle accidents igniting fires, or heavy equipment spreading sparks into forests.

Human-caused wildfires have accounted for about 72 per cent of wildfires in the Prince George Fire Centre since April 1st of this year, according to BC Wildfire Service. However, this year human-caused wildfires have been less frequent provincewide than in previous years, according to MacDonald’s presentation. 

“Fortunately, with the recent cooler weather, we’ve seen a lower number of human-caused fires, which has been great,” MacDonald said. “Please continue that vigilance and caution as we proceed into the core of the fire season.”

The Prince George Fire Centre is still under the Category 2 and 3 open fire ban instituted March 28th. The use of fireworks, sky lanterns, burn barrels, and binary exploding targets is also prohibited. This ban does not include campfires, though BC Wildfire Service encourages residents to check if their municipality or First Nation has other restrictions in place.

The Village of Valemount does not currently have additional restrictions in place, according to CAO Anne Yanciw.