Backcountry Travel Advisory

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As more than 900 wildfires blaze through the province, the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection is today issuing a backcountry travel advisory for the southern portion of the province including Vancouver Island.

As forests and grasslands remain tinder dry through much of the province, B.C. Parks is asking people to avoid venturing into the unsupervised portions of backcountry areas to reduce the risk of being trapped by a fire or accidentally starting a fire. There are currently 3,500 fire fighters employed on wildfires throughout the province.

The advisory urges people to exercise extreme caution and avoid all nonessential backcountry travel. Fires are banned in southern provincial parks where even the smallest spark could start a new fire. B.C. Park officials ask provincial parks visitors to restrict their activities to areas with developed facilities. Provincial park backcountry areas with developed facilities such as Cathedral Park and the Bowron Lake and Myrtle Lake canoe chains remain operational.

Front country areas are still open unless otherwise noted. Visitors to front country areas should avoid smoking and exercise particular caution when using barbecues, gas lanterns and candles. For specific fire ban and park closure information see the BC Parks Web site: wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/

Fires have forced the complete closures of 12 provincial parks. These include: Adams Lake, Bedard Aspen, Bonaparte, Cornwall Hills, Harry Lake Aspen, High Lakes Basin, Myra-Bellevue, Niskonlith Lake, Nunsti, Oregon Jack and Tsintsunko Lakes, Moyie Lake and Okanagan Mountain.

Partial closures are in effect in many parks including Kalamalka Lake Park, Cypress Bowl and Mount Seymour provincial parks.

The BC Parks is encouraging the public to report wildfires by calling 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on most cellular networks. To report suspicious activity, call 1-800-663-WILD (9453) or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).