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Lightning brightens night sky over Okanagan, sparks small fires

FILE. Lightning in West Kelowna last year. Courtesy: Irene Reavie

A Thursday night thunderstorm brought a bit of rain and roaring thunder, lighting up the sky across the Okanagan.

There was plenty of warning about the storm, with Environment Canada sending out multiple alerts, and, due to the long stretch of dry weather, plenty of concern was expressed by fire services.

“Scattered thunderstorms are forecast across the Central and Southern Interior (Thursday) along with moderate winds and occasional gusts up to 60 kilometres an hour,” read the alert from BC Wildfire.

“The amount of rainfall accompanying these thunderstorms will be highly variable and therefore difficult to predict.”

Click to play video: 'Taking photos of wild weather'
Taking photos of wild weather

While the storm’s effects will be better understood as the day goes on, the morning outlook was relatively positive.

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One fire in the Central Okanagan was struck by lightning at around 7 p.m. and within hours the wildfire service was reporting it had been held. The fire is around 2.5 kilometres off Bear Lane, near Bear Creek park.

There’s another spot-size fire in the Shuswap, and there’s an initial attack crew on site, a BC Wildfire information officer said.

The other fire was closer to Armstrong, and it is called Alderson Creek. BC Wildfire said it’s a fairly new fire and more information will be made available later in the day.

No other lightning storm fires are currently being reported on the wildfire map for the Kamloops Fire Centre, which encompasses the Okanagan.

There are some isolated thunderstorms in the forecast as well as some precipitation and good overnight recovery, which could help with fire risk in the days ahead.

The change in weather seems to have created some reprieve for those who were breathing heavily due to smoky skies. Okanagan cities went from ratings of 8 to 10, or high risk, to low-risk conditions as of Friday morning.

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