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1,200 lightning strikes in Kamloops Fire Centre and more expected, BC Wildfire Service says

A map from Aug. 11, 2022, showing lightning strikes across British Columbia during the past 24 hours. Lightningmaps.org

An overnight storm that rolled across B.C.’s Southern Interior produced just over 1,000 lightning strikes.

And more lightning is expected today, says the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS).

Read more: Severe thunderstorm watch issued for most of B.C.’s Interior

In an interview with Global News, fire information officer Taylor Colman said there were 1,213 lightning strikes for the Kamloops Fire Centre, and that information was still being gathered to see how many — if any — wildfires were started.

“In the next day, or even up to three days, depending on the conditions, they can spark up even after lightning has struck the ground,” said Colman.

Across B.C., there were 4,018 lightning strikes on Wednesday.

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  • Cariboo Fire Centre: 1,363
  • Coastal Fire Centre: 1,267
  • Kamloops Fire Centre: 1,213
  • Northwest Fire Centre: 0
  • Prince George Fire Centre: 169
  • Southeast Fire Centre: 6

Earlier Thursday, Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm watch for most of B.C.’s Interior. The warning stretches from Prince George in the north to the South Okanagan and the Kootenays in the east.

“We are expecting widespread lightning across the majority of the Kamloops Fire Centre today and even into the overnight period,” Taylor Colman, a fire information officer, told Global News.

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Colman said widespread lightning is a 60 per cent chance or greater over the region.

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“Aside from the eastern and northern parts of the Kamloops Fire Centre, we have that 60 per cent chance of thundershowers and storms,” said Colman.

BCWS says there may be some precipitation, though rainfall totals could be minimal or trace amounts.

However, Colman added “but what we will see for certain is some lightning and gusting erratic winds. And those can drastically impact fire behaviour on new and existing wildfires.”

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