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Thunder, lightning roll across Southern Interior: BC Wildfire

Click to play video: 'Thunderstorm rolls through Okanagan at sunset' Thunderstorm rolls through Okanagan at sunset
Global Okanagan's very own Travis Lowe captured this timelapse of last night's thunderstorm at sunset, condensing one hour into one minute and capturing more than 50 strikes. The most spectacular are near the end of the video – Aug 12, 2022

There were roughly 2,617 lightning strikes produced in Thursday night’s storm in B.C.’s Southern Interior, but concerns that they would lead to fire had yet to materialize by sunrise the next morning.

Later, however, 10 spot fires were found throughout B.C. and more could come.

Taylor Colman, a fire information officer with BC Wildfire, said that the majority of lightning strikes, which were dispersed pretty evenly across the Southern Interior were accompanied by rain.

Click to play video: 'Environment Canada issues severe thunderstorm watch for most of B.C.’s Interior' Environment Canada issues severe thunderstorm watch for most of B.C.’s Interior
Environment Canada issues severe thunderstorm watch for most of B.C.’s Interior – Aug 11, 2022

“That means we might not see impacts of it for a couple of days depending on the potential of holdover fires,” she said.

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Holdover fires, as defined by BC Wildfire, are fires that remain dormant and undetected for a considerable time after they start — particularly lightning-caused fires. They’re sometimes referred to as zombie fires.

While last night’s storm didn’t cause widespread fire, recent lightning is to blame for the majority of recent fires.

Click to play video: 'Crews battling Keremeos Creek Wildfire brace for potential lightning in forecast' Crews battling Keremeos Creek Wildfire brace for potential lightning in forecast
Crews battling Keremeos Creek Wildfire brace for potential lightning in forecast – Aug 8, 2022

“Within the last three days, from Aug. 9 to 12, there were 24 new fires and of those 17 were determined lightning-caused,” she said.

And thank the long damp spring for the amount of damage, thus far, being relatively minimal.

“It’s not a 2021. This year, we didn’t have the drought leading up to the summer,” she said. “And we have seen above seasonal temperatures at some points but not a heat dome.”

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This year, she added, it’s been a more normal fire season.

Click to play video: 'Environment Canada issues severe thunderstorm watch for most of B.C.’s Interior' Environment Canada issues severe thunderstorm watch for most of B.C.’s Interior
Environment Canada issues severe thunderstorm watch for most of B.C.’s Interior – Aug 11, 2022

At the height of Thursday’s thunderstorms, Environment Canada says Kamloops recorded a wind gust of 82 kilometres per hour, while gusts in Merritt reached nearly 60 kilometres per hour and the city was drenched by more than 23 millimetres of rain, causing some localized flooding.

Thunderstorms on Wednesday also brought heavy rain to areas around Lytton, which was damaged by wildfires last year, causing mudslides that have covered the Trans-Canada Highway, closing the route between Lytton and Spences Bridge.

With files from The Canadian Press

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