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Wildfire season expected to heat up

May was a typical wildfire season in the region with just 13 fires reported.
June 03, 2014 - 2:29 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - With just 13 wildfires reported in May it was a ‘pretty average’ spring month for B.C. Wildfire but the amount of rain that falls over the next month will play a big part in whether predictions of a heavy fire year are correct.

Melissa Klassen with the Kamloops Fire Centre says of the 13 fires only one was larger than a hectare, a 15.6 ha fire along Long Lake Road south of Kamloops on May 1. Only one other presented a high risk, a lightning started fire west of Vernon, May 16.

Both of those fires required action, with air tankers dropping retardant on the dense timber of the Vernon fire to prevent potential fast spreading. Crews were able to keep it well under a hectare.

While the number of fires in May are considered normal for the month, June activity is often a big indicator of what the rest of the fire season will look like.

“Some models have predicted a higher than average fire season, and it’s something we monitor.” Klassen says. “A lot of times fire is dependent on the short term weather. The amount of precipitation in June will be a big indicator.”

Klassen says we are expecting a warm and dry trend with some unstable weather and thunderstorms forecasted and asks the public to help by reporting any fires that pop up around the region.

“We will likely see more lightning starts. A lot of lightning caused fire starts are public reported,” she says. “Initial phone reports, they’re a huge part of our business.”

Klassen notes most of the region is under an open burning prohibition and asks people to be careful with any fire use. The Salmon Arm and Clearwater fire zones will be under the prohibition as of June 15 as well.

To date 54 wildfires have burned 271 ha this year, which is below the 10 year average.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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