Federal officials to announce supports for wildfire season

Even though parts of B.C. have experienced record-breaking cold and rainy weather in recent days, wildfire season has already begun in the province.

Hoping to prevent the devastation seen last season, federal officials are announcing plans to address the issue Friday.

The ministers of natural resources, emergency preparedness and Indigenous services will be providing an update on federal support measures for this year’s wildfire season at the HMCS Discovery Naval Reserve in Stanley Park.

They will be joined by B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor-general and a number of First Nations leaders and health officials.

Several forecasters have said temperatures in B.C. will start to rise in the next few weeks, so officials are trying to prepare.

B.C. saw its third worst season on record last year when it comes to area burned, with roughly 8,700 square kilometres lost.

The 2021 season started earlier than usual, with a deadly heat dome shattering temperature records.

One of the most devastating blazes was the Lytton Creek wildfire, which killed two people and scorched much of the village of Lyttton.

Thousands of people were also displaced in the Central Okanagan.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, much of the country is in for a sizzling summer with very warm, dry conditions expected for parts of B.C. towards the end of June and mid-to-late July.

The province recently updated its Alert Ready system in anticipation of the wildfire season.

Starting next month, it will be capable of sending local wildfire alerts out by broadcast and to smart phones.

After experiencing how quickly flames spread last year, the tool could be crucial to saving lives going forward.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Meagan Gill