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Weekend lightning could still cause fires days later

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
August 14, 2018 - 6:00 PM

VERNON - Lightning that struck around the Mabel Lake region last weekend could still pose a significant threat as the temperature is set to rise through the week.

B.C. Wildfire Service spokesperson Kim Weir said that although lightning struck over the weekend Aug. 11 and 12 the strikes could start new fires days later in the right conditions.

"They could actually smoulder under the ground for a significant amount of time and then come to life when the conditions are right," Weir said. Weir said firefighters are anticipating the possibility of new fires starting as the weather forecast predicts warmer temperatures.

Weir said the rainfall that fell around the Mabel Lake region over the weekend varied greatly with some areas reporting as little as 0.2 millimetres of rain, while another area saw 12 mm.

The 27 fires burning in the area are known as The Monashee Complex, of which Weir said fire crews are focussing their efforts on the 508 hectare Harris Creek wildfire, 16 km South East of Lumby; the 1,861 hectare Mabel Creek fire 6.5 km east of Mabel Lake, and the 332 hectare Sugar Mountain wildfire, about 4 km east of Sugar Lake.

Weir said the precipitation had subdued fire behaviour, but with warmer temperatures and sunny weather on the horizon, fire crews are expecting fire behaviour to increase especially in the areas in the south near Harris Creek which received less rainfall. Along with the weather, the topography of the area is proving a challenge.

"Some of the terrain is extremely steep which is challenging for both machines as well as firefighters," she said.

Weir also reiterated for people to stay off Mabel Lake forest service road from kilometre 10 to 59 as fire crews are working in the area.

"It's really important, we are really trying to get the message out," Weir said.

For more on these fires, go here.

For more on the forest fire situation in B.C. this year, go here. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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