Golden Ears Provincial Park is expected to be busy this Victoria Day long weekend. (The News file)

Golden Ears Provincial Park is expected to be busy this Victoria Day long weekend. (The News file)

Thousands expected at Golden Ears and Rolley Lake parks this Victoria Day long weekend

Operating manager urging public to be patient

With sunny, warm weather in the forecast, another busy long weekend is expected at both Golden Ears and Rolley Lake Provincial Parks.

Don’t be surprised if the gates to the parks are closed because of the amount of people, said Stu Burgess, operating manager for both parks.

Last weekend about 7,500 vehicles entered Golden Ears park and almost 2,000 entered Rolley Lake park, noted Burgess.

This weekend all campgrounds are full at both parks, and there will be no first-come first-serve. As of yet, B.C. Parks has not yet made an announcement on whether day passes will be implemented for the summer.

Katrine Conroy, B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, put out a notice Thursday, May 20, to urge people to be cautious when it comes to open flame.

From April 1 to May 19, 2021, 214 wildfires have burned about 2,147 hectares of land in the province. And, according to the Ministry, of those fires, 168, or about 79 per cent, were caused by people.

“I hope British Columbians enjoy the Victoria Day long weekend, but I also encourage them to use caution with any activity that could spark a wildfire,” said Conroy.

READ MORE: Golden Ears Provincial Park sees 10,000 vehicles over Easter

“Human-caused fires are completely preventable and can unnecessarily divert firefighting resources from naturally occurring wildfires,” she added.

Burgess noted that the fire danger rating in both Golden Ears and Rolley Lake parks is currently low. So far this summer he has had to warn a few campers that their fire was too large.

Campfires must not be larger than 0.5 metres high or 0.5 metres wide, according to Ministry guidelines.

READ MORE: Starting July 27, 2020, visitors must have a day pass for Golden Ears Provincial Park

Other fire safety tips from the Ministry include:

• Never light a campfire or keep it burning in windy conditions. Weather can change quickly, and wind may carry embers to other combustible material.

• Maintain a fireguard around your campfire. This is a fuel-free area where all flammable materials, including grass, leaves, kindling, etc.) have been removed right down to the soil.

• Never leave a campfire unattended.

• Have a shovel or at least eight litres of water available to properly extinguish the campfire.

• Make sure the ashes are cool to the touch before leaving the area for any length of time.

Burgess reiterated the Ministry’s warning to never leave a campfire unattended, even for a few minutes.

Also, he added, never pour flammable liquids onto a campfire to help it burn better, and always make sure to completely extinguish a fire when checking out of the campsite.

Ultimately Burgess is urging the public to be patient if there are line-ups this weekend to get into either park.

“Maintain social distancing and have fun,” he said.

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