Heat wave in Kamloops has emergency crews prepared - InfoNews

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Heat wave in Kamloops has emergency crews prepared

Image Credit: (CREDIT/www.bcwildfire.ca)
May 06, 2013 - 1:48 PM

The weather is teetering on record-setting temperatures in Kamloops this week, but the risk of flooding is nothing that will break history books.

"There's no significant flood risk this year," said Dan Sutherland, emergency program coordinator for the City of Kamloops. "We're just right at average snowpack for both the South Thompson and North Thompson."

Sutherland said, however, that those forecasts can change quickly.

"It all depends on what the weather does," he added.

Last year, Kamloops saw extreme flooding. Riverside Park was among the many city spots that were soggier than usual.

"We had a very wet spring," Sutherland said. "That was certainly a contributing factor to the flooding issues that occurred."

He said this year's spring has been much drier.

"It's inverse, if you will, from what we experienced last year," he added.

With plenty more dry Kamloops weather expected heading into the summer, floods may not be a risk, but wildfires may be on the radar.

So far, there have been about 26 wildfires - much lower than the average 48 usually seen by now - but Kamloops Wildfire Management information officer, Michaela Swan, said the current heat wave may change that quickly.

"We're in a significant weather change," Swan said. "We're looking at a drastic increase to our fire danger rating."

Currently sitting at a moderate rating, 'with pockets of high', Swan said the rating correlates to multiple factors including: weather and fuels.

She said it's difficult to predict long-term wildfire forecasts.

"They're really unpredictable," she said. "We're certainly aware of the long-term forecasts."

The Kamloops branch is getting prepared for the season with 27 first-response crews, seven 20-person unit crews and over 50 management staff.

"All of our crews are on board," Swan said.

Crews are expected to work until September.

Open fire prohibitions begin on May 15.

Swan is asking Kamloops residents to consult a venting index before burning and to be cautious of wind in the area.

To report smoke or flames contact 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 from a mobile phone.

For additional information visit B.C. Wildfire Management Branch online.

To contact a reporter for this story, email: jwallace@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 319-7494.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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