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B.C.’s wildfire season likely to extend weeks due to dry conditions: official

Click to play video: 'Wildfire risk persists across most of B.C.'
Wildfire risk persists across most of B.C.
Persistent hot, dry weather and a series of storms bringing lightning strikes across the province are sparking more fires. The BC Wildfire Service says some of these conditions are expected to last well into September. Paul Johnson reports – Aug 20, 2022

While this year’s wildfire season in the province started later than usual due to a wet spring season, the BC Wildfire Service says fires may continue longer than usual.

“Typically, we start to see a winddown in our fire season the first week of September,” said Andrea Heath, a BC Wildfire Service provincial information officer.

“Our weather modeling is saying that our wildfire season will continue until at least mid-September. We’ll likely see it extended a couple of weeks further (than usual).”

Officials are attributing the wildfire season extension to persisting hot and dry weather.

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Along with the fire season being extended, the province continues to see a large number of lightning strikes that lead to new fires.

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“We did see an increase in lightning strikes in the past 72 hours. There have been 11,300 lightning strikes across the province and 109 new fires started (over that time period). Seventy-eight of those fires were caused by lightning strikes and 29 of those are currently held, out or under control,” Heath said.

It might seem like a concerning number of new fires but the BC Wildfire Service said they have managed them well and officials are not concerned at this time.

“We were prepared for this and we have quite extensive resources out, actively working, not just on new fires but also our wildfires of note,” Heath said.

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BC Wildfire Service wants to thank the public and is encouraging people to continue to report wildfires they see through its mobile app.

“We’ve been able to respond to these fires quickly thanks to help from the public and photos being added to our mobile app,” said Heath.

“It’s a huge help to us in terms of identifying fires early on, which then gives us better success in (fighting) these fires.”

Click to play video: 'Wildfire expert Mike Flannigan'
Wildfire expert Mike Flannigan

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