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Hot and dry conditions puts BC at risk for wildfires


Paulina Keber
Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 12:33 -

British Columbia is experiencing a long dry spell for the month of July, which is a cause for concern in the province as it puts the area at risk for forest fires. Due to these hot and dry conditions, the Ministry of Forests has upgraded the fire danger rating to extreme for some parts of BC. While most parts are not at this extreme level, they still have a high fire danger rating. 

Central and lower parts of the province are facing particularly drier conditions then those to the north. Those in lower mainland have even started to see quite the dry spell, going over 26 days without rain.

This is still a long way from the record for the longest dry spell in British Columbia. The record was set in 1951 which left the province without a drop of rain for 58 days. Still, Environment Canada has stated that this July has been hotter and drier than on average. 

In terms of total rainfall amounts in the province so far, it has not amounted to much. Places to the north have seen about half of the rain that is typical for July. The numbers are even more astonishing in the south. Kelowna has only seen 4.9 mm versus the normal 36.9 mm of rain at this time of year and Hope about 2.8 mm to their 64.4 mm average. In Tofino, a place that usually sees about 76.8 mm, they have only seen 1.8 mm of rain so far this month. 

Due to the lack of rain and hot temperatures an open fire ban has been put in place. There was also a campfire ban days ago, which has since been lifted. The Ministry has also stated that those who go against the bans can face ticket fines of $345 or, if convicted, see fines up to $100,000 plus jail time. It is important to stay updated on these prohibitions for yours and other people’s safety. To stay updated go to the BC wildfires site

There is currently one wildfire in the province which is located 28 km east of Pemberton. The cause of the fire appears to be lightning and covers over 30 hectares of land. This fire has been fully contained though, and has not caused any evacuations in the area. 

The dry conditions are expected to last the rest of the month in the province. As such, residents should take caution since fires can easily ignite in these conditions.

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