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Fire risk to shift from north to south: BC Wildfire Service

The forest fire risk in B.C. is expected to shift from the northern reaches of the province to the southeast, BC Wildfire Service officials say.

In a briefing today, forecaster Neil McLoughlin said northern reaches of B.C. have seen “significant rain” which is “a really good thing.”

But their models predict that overall the rest of August and early September will be warmer than normal, and the fire danger will shift south, where rain could be isolated and a few days of hot weather could bring the danger rating back to high to extreme.

He added they expect about normal precipitation, but can’t be sure.

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So far, 528 fires have burned a total of 22,000 hectares in B.C. this year, compared to more than 1,300 last year that burned 570,784 hectares. The 20-year average by this point is 113,976 hectares. McLoughlin said 2022 most closely resembles the fire seasons of 2020 and 2011.

Over the past week, 154 new fires broke out, 121 of which are being held, are under control, or have been put out. Nearly three quarters were caused by lightning.

As of Wednesday, there were 91 active wildfires throughout the province, including six considered “of note” for either being highly visible or posing a threat to public safety. Four of these were in the Kamloops Fire Centre and two in the Southeast Fire Centre.

As of noon today, campfires are banned in Kamloops, Southeast, and Coastal fire centres.

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