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Do you know your B.C. wildfire terminology?

These key terms are important for understanding the news and B.C. Wildfire Dashboard
A helicopter pilot prepares to drop water on a wildfire burning in Lytton, B.C., on Friday, July 2, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

British Columbia, as of July 5, has had 689 wildfires in 2021.

When looking to the news and the B.C. Wildfire Dashboard for information on wildfires, knowing what the different stages of wildfire control mean, and how to read the dashboard, is important.

Here’s a list of key wildfire definitions, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service and/or B.C. government:

Out of control: An out of control wildfire is one that is not responding — or only responding on a limited basis — to fire suppression action, causing its perimeter to spread. These wildfires are marked by a red dot on the B.C. Wildfire dashboard.

Fire of note: Wildfires of note are wildfires which are highly visible or pose a potential threat to public safety. These wildfires are marked by a fire symbol on the dashboard.

Being held: If a wildfire is being held, it means with the resources currently committed to the fire, enough fire suppression action has been taken. The fire is not likely to spread beyond existing or predetermined boundaries under current and forecasted conditions. A held wildfire is marked by a yellow dot on the dashboard.

Under control: An under control wildfire has received enough fire suppression action to ensure no further spread. A wildfire under control is marked by a green dot on the dashboard.

Out: This means the wildfire is extinguished. It will no longer appear on the dashboard.

New: New wildfires are marked by an orange diamond on the dashboard. They have been given an official fire number by the B.C. Wildfire Service and are being investigated.

Evacuation Alert: If you are placed under an evacuation alert, it’s time to get prepared to leave your home on short notice. Get your grab-and-go bag ready — which should include several days of clothing, toiletries and medications — your emergency plan, copies of important documents and important mementos. Listen to local emergency officials for further information on the situation. Areas under evacuation alert are highlighted in yellow on the dashboard.

Evacuation Order: If you are placed under an evacuation order, leave the area immediately. Follow the directions of local emergency officials and evacuate using the route or routes they’ve identified. Do not return home until you’ve been advised that the evacuation order has been rescinded. Areas under an evacuation order are highlighted in red on the dashboard.

Read more: SPCA personnel going behind evacuation lines in Lytton to rescue pets and livestock

Read more: ‘We are all still reeling’: Open letter from Lytton details devastation from deadly wildfire


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