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Fire safety a must in camping season

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Camping weather is upon us as are hot summer temperatures.

Combine the two and you get forest fires.

This time of the year is known as "people season" as campers, careless hikers and others start hundreds of forest fires.

So far there have been 561 fires burning in B.C. covering 4,104 hectares of land.

Right now there are 125 burning.

A major concern for us is the camp fire," said Starr Munro, B.C.’s fire information officer.

However, if campers followed a few simple rules many fewer forest fires would occur.

Munro said fire-starters should first clear all debris from the area they plan to light the fire in. Then dig a pit down until you hit damp earth. Place a ring of stones around the pit.

Make sure the pit does not hit any tree roots as the fire can travel along the root long after the camper has gone.

Most campsites provide metal fire pits and those should be used where available. And keep the fire small as sparks can rise up and start a blaze elsewhere.

Be sure to keep a shovel near the fire at all times and a bucket of water.

When you’re ready to put it out pour lots of water over it and stir the ashes. Repeat this until you can place your hand on the ashes. "It may take a while," said Munro. "But it is worth it. If the fire is not put our properly it can go underground and days or weeks later it can start a fire. It can travel quite a distance."

To get more information go to www.for.gov.bc.ca/protect .

If you see a fire call 1800 663 5555 or on your cell #5555.

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