Kamloops Fire Centre is off to its slowest fire season in a decade - InfoNews

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Kamloops Fire Centre is off to its slowest fire season in a decade

B.C. WIldfire Services are seeing a slow start to the fire season in the Kamloops Fire Centre after weeks of unsettled, cool, wet weather throughout the district.
July 06, 2020 - 7:00 AM

Several weeks of unsettled weather conditions has put a damper on this year’s wildfire season, making this the slowest start in a decade.

Taylor MacDonald, Fire Information Officer with B.C. Wildfire says as of July 1, 38 fires have burned 119 ha in the Kamloops Fire Centre, well below the ten-year average of 88 fires and 1,093 ha by July 1.

By July 1 last year, 92 fires had burned 991 ha in the Kamloops fire centre.

“Periodic rain has helped keep fire statistics low from April through June,” MacDonald says.

Heavy rain that fell in parts of the fire centre earlier this week, added to the June rains, have slowed the rate of drying in the forests. That has made large fuels less likely to ignite, and has helped limit fires to finer fuels.

“It’s been beneficial. The fire ratings throughout the fire centre are very low, except for a small area around Lytton, which is low. The fire season’s future severity will depend on short term weather patterns through July and August, but right now it’s looking quite quiet,” she says.

There also hasn’t been a hint of a campfire ban so far this season. The only other years in the past ten where that didn’t happen was in 2016 and 2019.

Still, it's worth remembering the worst fire season in British Columbia history looked very much like this spring, when only 55 fires were started by July 1 and only 330 ha burned.

By the end of the 2017 wildfire season  those numbers would rise to 269 fires that burned 215,413 ha and blanketed much of the western hemisphere in choking smoke.

FILE PHOTO- A smoky sky performance of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds over Penticton in early August, 2017.
FILE PHOTO- A smoky sky performance of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds over Penticton in early August, 2017.

— This story was updated at 10:48 a.m. July 7, 2020 to correct the number of wildfires burning in the Kamloops Fire Centre last year at this time.


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