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628 lightning strikes in Southern Interior sparks BC Wildfire concerns

BC Wildfire Service crews battle the Klawli Lake wildfire south of Prince George, B.C. in summer of 2023. BC Wildfire Service

A Thursday night thunderstorm in B.C. unleashed 628 lightning strikes across the Southern Interior, raising concerns about holdover fires in the days ahead.

BC Wildfire said Friday that the Kamloops Fire Centre saw six new wildfires start following thunderstorms and lightning activity throughout the centre.   More worrisome, however, is what may come in the days ahead.

“When you receive lightning through an area there is the potential for holdover fires. Holdover fires typically occur once you have ignition, they may not spark up right away and may occur from a day to several days following lightning and thunderstorm activity,” fire information officer Melanie Bibeau said.

“But this is dependent on conditions that we will see we are seeing the return of some warmer and drier temperatures, so that can also increase the chances of those holdover fires popping up over the coming days.”

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A holdover fire is defined as a fire that remains dormant for a considerable time period following ignition from a lightning strike. As temperatures increase holdover fires may occur and grow large enough to become detected.

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Of the new fires in the area, one of the most visible is the Scuitto Creek wildfire (K22003) located approximately 11 kilometers southeast from Kamloops.

This wildfire is currently estimated to be six hectares in size and is classified as out of control.

If more are seen, the Kamloops Fire Centre would like people to call 1-800-663-5555 and *5555 reporting line in addition to the report a wildfire function on the BC Wildfire mobile app to report wildfires.

The addition of photos on the app has been praised for helping firefighters better respond to incidents in recent weeks.

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