08/02/2012 12:52 EDT | Updated 10/02/2012 05:12 EDT

Long weekend campers urged to be cautious in B.C.'s drying backcountry

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - No campfire bans are in place around B.C., outside of municipal area such as Whistler, but officials are still urging caution as many people plan to spend the upcoming long weekend in the backcountry.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson says it has only taken a few weeks of dry summer heat to drive up the wildfire danger.

He says campers should ensure they are complying with all regulations, such as keeping campfires under the maximum size of a half-metre wide by a half-metre high.

The Forest Service reports 682 wildfires have been recorded since the start of this year's fire season, compared to 291 fires over the same period last year.

But the amount of woodland charred by fires in 2012 is well below average, with 160 square kilometres of bush affected, compared to more than 710 square kilometres scorched at this point last year.

Fire danger over most of B.C. is currently rated as low to moderate, but there are some pockets where the danger is rated as high or extreme, with most of the risky areas stretching across the northern and northeastern sections of the province. (CHNL)