Lightning sparks 50 new wildfires across B.C.

Click to play video: 'Lightning sparks dozens of fires in B.C.'
Lightning sparks dozens of fires in B.C.
Whether you saw it or not, lightning struck the province thousands of times in the last 24 hours, sparking dozens of fires. As Victoria Femia reports, some areas including B.C.'s interior are preparing for more lightning strikes, that are likely to cause even more fires. – Jul 8, 2023

Fifty new wildfires were sparked on Friday by a thunderstorm that rolled across parts of the province.

According to the BC Wildfire Service, there were more than 7,000 lightning strikes yesterday.

“We saw 67 new starts and 50 of them were caused by lightning,” provincial fire information officer Sarah Budd told Global News on Saturday.

“So right now, the bulk of our fires are coming in because of lightning.”

Click to play video: 'Wildfire burning out of control near Armstrong'
Wildfire burning out of control near Armstrong

In the Kamloops Fire Centre, lightning was the cause of the Horseshoe Lake wildfire near Spallumcheen.

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That fire is listed as still being out of control, though its size of 3.2 hectares hasn’t changed since Friday night.

BC Wildfire said the local fire department also responded to the blaze, which saw air support drop fire retardant on it shortly after it was discovered on Friday afternoon.

“Today, six BC Wildfire crew members have responded to the incident, along with one water tender and one helicopter,” said Kamloops Fire Centre information officer Taylor Shantz.

“They are making good progress on containment on that one.”

Click to play video: 'Residents urged to be fire smart amid hot, dry conditions'
Residents urged to be fire smart amid hot, dry conditions

In the Similkameen Valley, two spot-sized fires north of Tulameen that were quickly contained were also started by lightning.

“The last 24 hours, the Kamloops Fire Centre has seen 623 lightning strikes,” said Shantz, adding the region had 11 fire starts, 10 of which are believed to be from lightning.

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Conditions in the Southern Interior are currently hot and aren’t expected to change anytime soon.

With above-average temperatures and possibly more lightning on the way, combined with little to no precipitation in the forecast, it won’t take much to spark a fire.

Click to play video: 'Fire mitigation helps prevent wildfire spread'
Fire mitigation helps prevent wildfire spread

“When you have dry forest fuels on the landscape, and you’re seeing over 600 strikes, you’re going to see fires starting,” said Shantz.

“We saw 11 starts yesterday and were expecting more today. There’s additional lightning on the way.

“On top of that, you have what’s called hold-over fires – that’s where lightning strikes, but the fire doesn’t start until the fuels dry out a little bit more. That’s what’s expected today.”

So far this year, there have been 733 wildfires across the province, compared to a 10-year average of 514 for the same time period.

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Click to play video: 'Twin Lakes home outside fire protection burns down'
Twin Lakes home outside fire protection burns down

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