Hot and tinder-dry conditions have pushed wildfire season into fall with fire crews battling two new wildfires in B.C.’s Southern Interior.
The Gilpin Grasslands Park wildfire just east of Grand Forks sparked on Sunday and is believed to be human-caused. Despite strong winds, there was no significant growth overnight.
“The Gilpin Grasslands Park wildfire is currently estimated to be 170 hectares in size,” said Southeast Fire Centre information officer Kim Wright.
“There is low relative humidity, and we are seeing continued winds, so the fire is very active and is very visible from surrounding communities and Highway 3. But it has not challenged those containment lines or those planned containment lines.”
As of Tuesday, two helicopters, four pieces of heavy machinery and 37 fire personnel were battling the blaze.
“Those crews and resources are going to continue work today on containment lines and establishing water systems. Traffic control is no longer in the area but available if we need them,” said Wright.
Meanwhile, crews in West Kelowna are also battling a new wildfire. The fire, dubbed McDougall Creek, sparked Tuesday morning and is classified as out of control.
The fire is not threatening any structures and a helicopter is supporting firefighting efforts.
“The McDougall Creek wildfire is currently estimated to be 1.1 hectares in size,” said Kamloops Fire Centre information officer Melanie Bibeau.
“The fire is currently displaying rank two and three fire behaviour. That means that there are areas of organized and unorganized flame front with a slow to moderate flame spread.”
With hotter than normal fall weather and no rain in the immediate forecast, BC Wildfire says wildfire season is far from over.
“Drought conditions can be attributed to warmer seasonal temperatures and below average rainfall that we have been experiencing,” said Bibeau.
“Many areas of B.C. have set temperature records in the recent weeks and the accumulated rainfall amounts through September were below normal levels than we typically see at this time of year.”
Fire activity across the region is expected to continue until there is significant rainfall or snowfall.
“With most of the province experiencing these above normal drought conditions we are urging people to use caution and stay vigilant to prevent any human-caused fires while enjoying the beautiful outdoors,” said Bibeau.