(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

Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations open new RV Park

Both nations excited about new economic venture

Parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

UPDATE: Victoria hosts first National Cannabis Conference

Vendors, shoppers and cannabis-curious folk head to the Victoria Conference Centre

Victoria High School students find themselves in a ‘Hairy’ situation

Vic High drama students performing modern version of Broadway musical ‘Hair’

Ready for day two at the Home Expo

One exhibitor, Atlas Junk Removal, uses their trucks for a good cause

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Dinosaurs taking centre stage at National Geographic event

NatGeo Live series finale May 2 at the Royal features renowned paleontologist

UPDATED: 1 person dead after highway crash in Nanoose Bay

Accident happened just before 4 p.m. near Hillview Road

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Most Read