Thunderstorms could spark more wildfires in parts of the Southern Interior this week, but rain could also put a damper on some existing fires.
The BC Wildfire Service issued a wildfire status update Monday. So far this season, 1,044 fires have started across the province. That is below the ten-year average of 1,076 and way off last year’s 1,539 fires. However, the wildfire season is expected to continue well into September.
The area burned is also significantly below average. The 2022 running total is 38,552 hectares burned. Last year, more than 852,000 hectares were burned, and the ten-year average is 320,377.
BCWS is keeping an eye on unstable weather moving into the Southern Interior.
An upper lower is forecast to remain nearly stationary over the far south for the next few days, drifting slowly eastward along the U.S. border tonight, and bringing a risk of lightning.
Tomorrow, the upper low will stall over the Okanagan, bringing thunderstorms mainly in the Southeast and Kamloops Fire Centres. BCWS says very warm temperatures will continue in the Okanagan and Thompson but cooler temperatures with cloud cover and expected showers should help crews battling fires in the Southeast Fire Centre.
"This weather will be variable in location and intensity but we anticipate overall it will reduce fire behaviour on existing incidents and assist ongoing firefighting efforts," noted BCWS.
There are currently 194 wildfires burning across B.C. The Southeast Fire Centre accounts for 37 per cent of fire activity and has five wildfires of note. The only other wildfire of note in the province is the Keremeos Creek fire, southwest of Penticton.
To date in the Kamloops Fire Centre, there have been 294 wildfires this season, with an estimated area burned of 12,576 hectares.