The heat wave that swept over the province is being replaced by cooler temperatures working their way south, bringing with it lightning and a high likelihood for many new fires starting.
Cliff Chapman, the BC Wildfire Service’s Director of Provincial Operations, painted a clear and concerning picture of what the next two days could hold in store for British Columbia at a provincial news conference this morning (Thursday).
“The conditions out in the forest are very prime to see significant fire growth and to see new fires challenge our suppression efforts,” he said.
According to Chapman, the wave of cooler weather will bring with it strong and erratic winds of up to 70 kilometers an hour.
“The wind direction will change, and what used to be the flank or base of a fire will become the head of a fire,” he said, explaining that will challenge weeks or months worth of containment lines and suppression efforts.
These winds are expected to bring lightning.
“We are expecting a significant number of new fires across BC,” Chapman said. “Those fires will challenge even our air tanker and helicopter resources, and our ground resources.”
“This weather event has the potential to be the most challenging 24-48 hours of the summer,” he said.
Because of this, the province is warning people to be ready for more evacuation alerts and orders – and are urging people to listen if and when these restrictions are put in place.
This is all compounding on top of the province’s worst drought season on record.
Minister of Forests, Bruce Ralston, said 19/34 water basins in the province are at a 5/5 drought level, only three are at level 2 or lower.
Ralston is continuing to call on residents in the province to reduce water usage.
Across BC, there are currently 368 active fires – 136 of them are in the Prince George Fire Centre.
1,614,465 hectares have been burned across BC this season, 1,329,195 of those hectares were also in the Prince George Fire Centre.
– story done by Will Peters, MyPGNow.com staff