Smoke from wildfires burning in central British Columbia hangs in the air as a man walks on a dock in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday August 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Access to the backcountry has been banned in a large swath of British Columbia's Interior as wildfire crews gear up for a challenging weekend.
Kevin Skrepnek with the BC Wildfire Service says winds are expected to pick up Saturday with a change in the weather and that risks fuelling fires already burning throughout the Cariboo fire centre.
The ban starts immediately, covering 103,000 square kilometres in south central B.C., and Skrepnek says it is intended to maintain safety and prevent any human-caused fires that could divert their resources.
The restriction will be in place until Sept. 5 and means people cannot remain in or enter the area without the prior written authorization.
Commercial operations, people travelling on an official capacity or to their primary residence, and those helping in the firefighting are exempt from the restriction.
The Cariboo region spans from Loon Lake near Clinton in the south to the Cottonwood River near Quesnel in the north, and from Tweedsmuir Provincial Park in the west to Wells Gray Provincial Park in the east is popular among hikers and campers.
The Canadian Press