August 04, 2013 - 12:34 PM
So far so good for B.C. Forestry crews in the Thompson-Okanagan.
There have been 56 new wildfires spotted in the region since August 1 when a low-pressure system brought thunderstorms with it.
Over the last 24 hours, in the Kamloops Fire Centre, there have been 18 new fire starts, mostly in the North Thompson area.
“The fire danger remains extreme in the Kamloops area despite the rain on Saturday,” fire information officer Michaela Swan says. “The precipitation wasn’t widespread. It was really localized.”
The fire danger is moderate in the South Okanagan today and moderate to high in the Central and North Okanagan.
Of the 18 new fires, most are spot fires. That’s one tree with a little bit of ground fire spread. The biggest ones aren’t even considered significant. The biggest is burning north of Blue River and is only 8 hectares in size.
“So far this long weekend it’s been steady. We’ve had far busier times (this fire season). It’s just been constant.”
Swan says when they aren’t putting out the new fires that are popping up, they’re in a state of constant vigilance. Air crews are flying aerial reconnaissance missions trying to find those new fires.
All the bigger fires are burning in the North Thomson region, north of Clearwater. Some of the fires are burning in Wells Gray Provincial Park.
Fire managers are assessing those blazes to figure out how many resources should be used to fight them. They are called ‘modified response fires.’
“For the most part they are going to be ‘let burn fires’ until they get to a certain point when they need to be actioned,” according to Swan.
To add insult to injury, there’s a severe thunderstorm watch in effect for most of the Thompson-Okanagan region. B.C. Wildfire is expecting more new fire starts as a result of the lightning in the storms.
And yes, the campfire ban remains in effect despite the wet weather.
“We will assess the precipitation that comes with the storms today,” Swan says. “We’ll certainly try to rescind the campfire ban if conditions warrant it. If we get the rain, we’ll pull it (campfire ban).”
But Swam points out they need lots of rain to put out the current fires so crews will have the time to respond to any wildfires started by campfires.
“We can’t have any human caused fire right now.”
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The majority of wildfires this weekend are small, spot fires. But there are so many thanks to lightning strikes, B.C. Wildfire crews are very busy.
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON /InfoTel Multimedia)
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013