Hundreds of lightning strikes reported in B.C.’s Interior during long weekend

Click to play video: 'Dozens of fires sparked in B.C. over long weekend'
Dozens of fires sparked in B.C. over long weekend
While thunderstorms are bringing much-needed rain to parts of British Columbia, lightning and strong wind are intensifying the province's wildfire season. Heather Yourex-West looks at the sweltering temperatures forecasted for B.C.'s Interior, and how nearby flames affected the Under the Stars music festival – Aug 7, 2023

The Southern Interior saw hundreds of lightning strikes during the B.C. Day long weekend.

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, 640 lightning strikes hit the Kamloops Fire Centre on Sunday, then another 246 on Monday.

“We have had some thunderstorm activity that hit the region,” said fire information officer Taylor Wallace.

“And while we haven’t had a massive amount of new (fire) starts that have grown to substantial sizes, we could see some holdover fires pop up over the next few weeks.”

Click to play video: 'Growth expected for Adams Lake wildfires'
Growth expected for Adams Lake wildfires

The Southeast Fire Centre also saw a spike (29) in new fires, also sparked by recent thunderstorm activity.

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“Ground crews and aviation resources are responding to new incidents throughout the fire centre, though there is a concentration of high elevation targets located in the West Kootenays,” said BC Wildfire.

“At this time, none of these wildfires are threatening structures or infrastructure.”

According to the latest BC Wildfire data, there are 413 active fires throughout the province, including 32 new fires in the past 24 hours.

“Oftentimes when we have multiple new starts, our main priorities are life and property,” said Wallace. “After that, we look at other values and then apply resources.”

Click to play video: 'Rice Road wildfire forces evacuation of music festival'
Rice Road wildfire forces evacuation of music festival

Of the 413 fires, 41 are within the Kamloops Fire Centre.

The Prince George Fire Centre has the most fires (140), followed by the Southeast Fire Centre (89) and then the Northwest Fire Centre (75). Next are the Coastal (43), Kamloops and Cariboo (25) fire centres.

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Wallace says cooler conditions are expected over the next few days, “but as we move towards the weekend, we see things starting to heat up again. That could bring the potential for those hold-over fires to a more visible point where we might be able to see smoke come up.”

With that possibility, BC Wildfire is asking the public to keep reporting fires through its mobile app or by calling 1-800-663-5555 or *5555.

Photos of fires are welcomed, says Wallace, as they help crews assess what resources they should respond with.

Click to play video: 'Smoky long weekend didn’t deter tourism in Kelowna'
Smoky long weekend didn’t deter tourism in Kelowna

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