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Almost 2,000 wildfire reports called in over BC Day long weekend

Submitting a photograph of a wildfire helps BC Wildfire Service plan and fight the fire, says ministry.

A sweltering B.C. Day long weekend saw many people getting out and enjoying the province. It also resulted in many people calling in wildfires.

During a press conference Thursday, Minister of Forests Katrine Conroy encouraged people to use the BC Wildfire Service mobile app.

She noted 57 reports of fires came through the app over the long weekend. Of those, 81 per cent included a photograph of the wildfire. 

“It's really, really helpful to the firefighters,” said Conroy.

During the same period of time over the long weekend, there were nearly 2,000 reports of wildfires by phone to the reporting centre. 

Conroy said having people use the app and submit a photo helps with their fight against the fires. 

“They really help the wildfire folks get out and increases the staff’s situational awareness and really helps with the rapid operational decision making on who and what to send to the fires,” she told reporters Aug. 4.

Currently, there are 60 active wildfires burning across the province, with 21 of them in the Kamloops Fire Centre and 17 of them in the Southeast Fire Centre. During the press conference, the province announced it's expecting above-average temperatures to continue through September. 

Neil McLoughlin, superintendent of predictive services with the BC Wildfire Service, says that will likely result in more wildfires being sparked.

“In the past week, there is about 149 new fire starts and we would expect a similar number of fire starts through the month of August,” McLoughlin said.

The BC Wildfire Service app allows people to report a fire electronically or by calling 1-800-663-555. Fires can also be reported by texting *5555.

When calling in, you are reminded to list the location in latitude and longitude, the size of the fire, rate of spread, fuel, smoke and flames, threat, action and if it is a campfire.