(Black Press files)

Anticipated rain a ‘wildcard’ for B.C.’s wildfires

Fire officials unsure how rain will affect the 126 fires in the southern Interior until it arrives

After nearly two months of tinder-dry weather, the B.C. communities hit hardest by wildfires could be seeing a bit of rain this weekend.

Environment Canada is forecasting a chance of scattered showers along the coast and into the southern Interior and Cariboo.

But BC Wildfire Service chief information officer Kevin Skrepnek said exactly how the wet weather will affect the 126 active fires in the region won’t be known until the rain arrives.

The rain is forecast to come with wind, which could be problematic for crews battling more volatile fires – such as Elephant Hill burning at 117,000 hectares in size near Clinton and the Chilcotin fire complex.

“Rain is a real wild card to try and forecast this far out,” Skrepnek said Wednesday.

Then there’s the chance of the upcoming rain turning to thunderstorms with lightning, which has been the culprit behind about 70 per cent of wildfires in 2017.

“Whether [the rain’s] a help or a hindrance remains to be seen,” he said. “Certainly though, getting some rain on these fires would be welcome but if we’re getting this unstable weather with it it might be a bit of a mixed blessing.”

Weather forecasts suggest the rain will begin Saturday on the coast, with scattered showers in areas of the Cariboo and southern Interior through to Sunday, when weather is expected to remain at cooler temperatures.

Until then, back country areas remained off-limits to the public and off-roading bans also remain in effect.

How much rain is enough rain?

In July, a day of rain in Williams Lake had offered a glimmer of hope for the then-evacuated city.

RELATED: It’s raining in Williams Lake, but not for long

The next day the BC Wildfire Service reported 32 more fires were caused by lightning in the Cariboo and Kamloops fire regions.

At the time, Environment Canada meteorologist Cindy Yu said short spurts of rainfall allows for a break in the heat but aren’t enough to make a real difference on larger wildfires burning.

Just Posted

Trip to meet Price ‘way better than I thought:’ Sireasha Alphonse

A trip to Montreal to meet hometown hero Carey Price is one a Williams Lake youth won’t forget

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Snow is weather story of the day for Cariboo Chilcotin Tuesday

Ten centimetres is expected by Wednesday morning

2017 wildfires spark creation of Riske Creek volunteer fire dept.

McLeese Lake and West Fraser volunteer fire departments have already donated safety clothing and gear

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read