Second major lightning storm in a week sparks fires in southern B.C.
Whether you lived in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Okanagan or Thompson-Nicola, you probably saw the sky light up at least once Saturday night.
All across the South Coast and Southern Interior, thousands of lightning strikes were recorded — some of them sparking new brush fires and damaging at least one Kamloops home.
Environment Canada says roughly 1,000 strikes were recorded in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley alone, all between 9:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. Sunday.
Residents in Surrey, Langley, Chilliwack and Abbotsford took dramatic photos and videos from inside their yards.
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The Okanagan and Thompson-Nicola areas saw nearly 7,000 strikes during the same time frame, senior meteorologist Jonathan Bau said.
Bau said the storm, which came just four days after a similar event in the Okanagan, was part of an intense system from the south sweeping through the province.
“There were enough dynamics of the jets in the east to kind of help with the thunderstorm development and sort of help maintain it,” Bau said. “It definitely lasted for quite a bit.”
The storm caused some new fires for the BC Wildfire Service to respond to.
Eight new fires were discovered between Saturday and Sunday, fire information officer Hannah Swift said. All of them are spot-sized, with the largest one at 0.9 hectares near Tranquille Creek.
“We did have personnel on all of those fires,” she said. “We do have one southeast of Lillooet that we don’t have personnel on yet because of weather making it unsafe for crews, but all others we have responded to.”
WATCH (Sept. 4, 2019): Tuesday night lightning storm sparks several spot fires in B.C.’s Southern Interior
Two of the fires are burning near Kamloops, but Swift said they don’t pose a danger.
“They’re all being held,” she said.
Swift credited the rain that came with the lightning for helping with suppression efforts and lowering the fire danger rating across the southern part of the province.
In Kamloops, which saw its lightning strikes earlier in the day between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., lightning struck the roof of a home, prompting a response from Kamloops Fire Rescue.
The strike caused a small fire that was quickly put out, but crews quickly had to respond to another fire at the Barnhartvale dump.
Bau said more lightning could be in the near future as rain continues to pour on the South Coast and Southern Interior.
“We’re looking at maybe one more day through Monday,” he said. “The low is slowly moving eastward, so as long as it sticks around we’ll see thunder and lightning.
“It should ease up by Tuesday, and by Wednesday or Thursday we should be back to a mix of sun and cloud.”
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