Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Eyes on the Weather as B.C. Crews Gear Up for Another Week Battling Wildfires

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Eyes on the Weather as B.C. Crews Gear Up for Another Week Battling Wildfires

Article excerpt

Three significant blazes still burn in B.C.

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KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Wildfire crews in British Columbia were watching the weather as a number of blazes burned Monday in several regions of the province.

Environment Canada was forecasting showers and cooler temperatures by Tuesday or Wednesday for most of southern B.C., but Kevin Skrepnek of the B.C. Wildfire Service says winds that come with that cold front are a concern.

The wildfire service lists three fires of note: the Tommy Lakes blaze in northeastern B.C., the Allie Lake fire northwest of Kamloops and the Xusum Creek wildfire west of Lillooet. Evacuation orders were in effect around all three.

Nine new blazes were reported since Sunday, including a 40-hectare fire that was listed as human-caused along the Chataway Creek forest service road midway between Merritt and Logan Lake in the southern Interior.

Smoke was visible from as far away as Kamloops and Skrepnek said the flames were being fought from the air. Both the Chataway and Allie Lake blazes could be buffeted by northwest winds that were due to nudge 50 km/h.

"If we can make it through the next 24 or 48 hours, it looks like the weather is going to shift to more seasonal," Skrepnek said on Monday morning. "By Wednesday we are looking at fairly widespread showers for most of the southern parts of the province."

June is traditionally a wet month and rain could keep a damper on wildfires in July and August, he said.

"What has been unusual about the fires we have had is how aggressive these fires have been," he added.

"It's the kind of activity we would typically see in early July as opposed to late May."

Recent high temperatures have pushed the fire danger rating over most of southern B.C. to moderate or high, and a large pocket in the northeastern corner of the province was rated as extreme. …

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