In advance of the 10th anniversary of the McLure wildfire, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson has released the following statement:
"The year 2003 is synonymous with wildfire in British Columbia. As the Minster of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, I look back at those devastating fires, such as the McLure fire, and admire the resilience of residents and the hard work completed by all agencies including our wildfire fighting personnel.
"On July 30, 2003, human carelessness resulted in a fire that devastated the towns of Barriere, and McLure, and destroyed Louis Creek. While crews worked tirelessly to contain the fire, high temperatures and dry conditions caused the blaze to burn out of control.
"Roughly 3,800 residents were evacuated from their homes, 800 of which were evacuated for a second time. Out-of-province firefighters and the military assisted with the emergency, working in co-ordination with wildland firefighters and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
"When the smoke cleared, the McLure wildfire had consumed 72 homes and nine businesses. The fire burned for 75 days and grew to a total of 26,420 hectares in size-and the McLure fire was only one of 25 Type 1 fires that personnel responded to that summer.
"At this time of year when lightning fires are more probable, we must work together to prevent additional wildfire starts. This anniversary serves as a reminder of the devastating effects of person-caused fires.
"As the trend of hot weather continues in southern B.C., once again we see the wildfire risk increasing, so please be extra vigilant with all activities in the outdoors, including lighting and extinguishing campfires, driving all-terrain vehicles and disposing cigarettes."
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations