Lightning sparks new wildfires on Vancouver Island, bringing B.C.’s total over 400

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: Lightning sparks new wildfires on Vancouver Island'
B.C. wildfires: Lightning sparks new wildfires on Vancouver Island
WATCH: While parts of B.C. are receiving some much-needed rain to help in the wildfire fight, severe thunderstorms have brought hundreds of lightning strikes. Eighteen new wildfires were sparked on Vancouver Island in a less than 24 hour period. Kylie Stanton reports – Aug 29, 2023

Lightning is the suspected cause of more than 30 new wildfires burning in British Columbia, bringing the province’s fluctuating total to 407 as of Tuesday afternoon.

Most of the new wildfires are in the Coastal Fire Centre, detected between Monday morning and Tuesday morning.

Click to play video: 'B.C. evening weather forecast: Aug. 28'
B.C. evening weather forecast: Aug. 28

Of the new fires, at least 33 are burning out of control. None are considered “wildfires of note”— fires that are either highly visible or threatening to public safety.

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“Vancouver Island is experiencing a severe thunderstorm event with scattered lightning activity,” the BC Wildfire Service tweeted Monday night.

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“When lightning strikes, it can release enough heat to ignite a tree or other fuels.”

Matt MacDonald, lead fire weather forecaster for the BC Wildfire Service, said more than 2,000 lightning strikes were recorded in the Coastal Fire Centre in the past 24 hours, sparking 26 fires.

The out-of-control King Creek fire, for example, is now burning west of Sooke, a Vancouver Island municipality with a population of at least 13,000 people.

The Meade Creek fire, also deemed out of control, is burning north of Lake Cowichan as well.

Both are less than a hectare in size.

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Most of the new fires have not yet been named. As of Tuesday morning, none had prompted new evacuation orders or alerts.

There are still 12 wildfires of note burning in the province. Some 8,000 British Columbians remain under evacuation order while around 54,000 remain on alert.

Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Minister Bowinn Ma said on Monday that the wildfire situation in B.C. had “momentarily stabilized.”

There were 375 wildfires as of Monday afternoon.

Anyone who spots a smoke or fires is asked to call 1-800-663-5555.

Click to play video: 'As Okanagan fires ease, crews take time to reflect'
As Okanagan fires ease, crews take time to reflect

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