After cooler spring, feds forecast severe fire season in second half of summer

Cool spring expected to turn

Researchers with the federal government are forecasting a more severe wildfire season in the second half of the summer, coming out of a cooler-than-normal spring.

In a technical briefing with reporters Friday, Canadian Forest Service fire research analyst Richard Carr explained La Nina conditions are cooling the waters of the Pacific Ocean off the B.C. Coast, but the models show that cooler weather won’t persist.

“I think, a kind of a normal start to the fire season this year,” he said, adding there is nothing to suggest we will have the early start to the season we did in 2021, when Lytton was completely destroyed on June 30.

“It doesn't look like it'll be quite as intense as 2021, since we had dry conditions, fairly warm temperatures right from spring through the summer,” he said.

“From mid-July onwards, it's pretty typical for fire activity to pick up at that time of year. What the weather models are suggesting at the present time — that we get more of a tendency to warm and dry conditions from mid-summer onwards,” Carr said.

Carr said the models suggest the fire season will be significant in the southern third of the province, while the northern parts stay cooler and wetter.

He noted that their models only forecast the weather, and volatile fire conditions still need ignition to spark a blaze. Large, disastrous fires can also happen every year regardless of the forecast.

Monthly wildfire forecast maps from the federal government are below.

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