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Nine fires already in the region this season; most were human caused

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
April 19th, 2016

Anyone noticing smoke in the valley needn’t be overly concerned, despite a recent record-breaking heat wave and an increase in local fires over this time last year, according to the Southeast Fire Centre today.

That’s not to say, though, that caution isn’t warranted, says fire information officer Karlie Shaugnessy.

“We’ve had nine fires which have burned 54 hectares in the Southeast Fire Centre region so far this season – the five year average is five fires burning 13.5 hectares, so it is up a little,” Shaugnessy said, adding all but one are thought to be human caused.

“Right now, what we’re experiencing is very similar patterns to what we see in July, with the temperatures and relative humidity.

“We do, however, have normal snowpack (which we did not at this time last year). In the valley bottoms, it’s very dry and last year’s dead fuels have dried out significantly, and that makes it very ignitable.”

Shaugnessy said the area is expecting some lightning Wednesday evening, possibly into Thursday, but the fire forecaster indicated strikes would likely be at higher elevations where there’s still a snowpack.

She said current weather is not necessarily indicative of the summer to come.

“The greatest indication of what our fire season will look like is the amount of precipitation we have in June,” she said. “It’s still early to predict what our fire season’s going to look like or where the fires are going to burn.”

Any smoke residents experience today is likely coming from prescribed burning taking place in both Washington and Idaho, she added.

Meanwhile, parts of northern B.C. are already experiencing incredibly damaging and dangerous blazes – the Peace River Regional District has declared a state of emergency and has issued evacuation orders for at least three communities.

More than 48 fires were being reported in the regional district as of Monday, with more than 4,000 hectares ablaze. High temperatures and strong winds are fueling the fires, many of which are thought to be human caused.

 

 

Categories: General

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