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B.C.'s slow start to summer isn't all bad news

Wednesday, July 8th 2020, 12:35 pm - Summer isn't in full swing yet, but that may be a good thing.

Where is summer?

That has been the question on a lot of B.C. residents’ minds with below-seasonal temperatures and periodic rain the dominant weather story.

But the slow start to summer has had some positives because it has also meant a slow start to the wildfire season.

The 10-year average for wildfires in B.C. through the end of June is 338, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service, with 25,000 hectares burned, however, this year we've seen a different story -- there have just been 177 fires reported through June and 665 hectares burned.

Across most of the province, the fire danger rating still remains low.

The slow start to the fire season is particularly welcomed this year because of COVID-19. A recent study out of the University of British Columbia that was published in the online journal Environmental Health Perspectives shows a link between high levels of fine particulate matter in wildfire smoke and increased ambulance dispatches. The research also suggests that the smoke has the potential to make viral respiratory infections like COVID-19 more severe.

But a slow start to the fire season doesn’t mean we are out of the woods. An extended period of hot and dry weather could change everything quickly.

This is what happened in 2017. During that year, B.C. only saw its first major fire on July 6th, which eventually led to the government declaring a provincial state of emergency.

More details on the upcoming fire season and potential impacts COVID-19 may present can be found in the video that leads this article.

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