With the B.C. Day long weekend here, officials are warning residents that the lingering heat wave could kick-start the wildfire season.

With the hot and dry weather and possible lightning in the forecast, the province is warning to people to stay alert.

“As we’re looking at this weekend, we’re expecting some dry lightning in areas of the province, especially the Kamloops Fire Centre and the Southeast Fire Centre,” said Jean Strong, provincial wildfire information officer.

Strong says the recent province-wide hot spell has melted snow at higher elevations and dried out the grasses, shrubs and trees. These conditions, Strong says, are ideal for wildfires to start quick and spread fast.

In Northeast BC, most of the wildfires are burning in remote locations. However, if you are travelling to Prince George, be advised that there is a fire burning near Bear Lake. It was reported Thursday, and has burned roughly 15 hectares.

The BC Wildfire Service believes the fire is human caused. Smoke from the blaze may be visible from Highway 97 between Mackenzie and Prince George over the next few days.

Since April 1, BC Wildfire Services has reported just over 380 wildfires in the province. At this time last year, B.C. already saw more than 1,200 wildfires in what was one of the worst wildfire seasons in the province’s history.

BC Wildfire Services says of the 380 wildfires since April, 52 per cent were human caused.

The fire danger rating is either high or extreme in most parts of the province. Currently there is no campfire ban at B.C. campsites, though officials say that could change in the weeks ahead.

“We’re asking everyone to be very cautious,” said Smart. “Whether that’s having a campfire or otherwise being in the backcountry.”

BC Wildfire Service also advises those camping or spending time in the backcountry to have an emergency plan in place and to stay informed, as conditions can change quickly. They’re also urging anyone who spots a wildfire to report it immediately to 1-800-663-5555 (*5555 from a cell phone). Wildfires can also be reported through the BC Wildfire Services App.

With files from CTV's Kevin Charach.