Wednesday, July 1, brought with it much rain. Penticton is seen in the distance from the Little Tunnel, above Naramata. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Wednesday, July 1, brought with it much rain. Penticton is seen in the distance from the Little Tunnel, above Naramata. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Heavy rain in Okanagan results in slowest start to fire season in four years

119 hectares of land burned so far this year, compared to 991 ha in 2019, and 3,835 ha in 2018

It’s the mildest start to summer in years, thanks to above average rainfall in the Okanagan.

In relation to this, forest fire numbers in this region are the lowest they have been in at least four years.

Right after the snow melted in early spring, several fires occurred in valley bottoms throughout the Kamloops Fire Centre. However since then rain through the fire centre has lessened fire activity.

So far this season, as of June 30, the BC Wildfire Service has responded to 38 fires in the Kamloops Fire Centre, in total burning 119 hectares (ha) of land.

By this time last year, the service had responded to 92 fires in this region, which had burned 991 ha.

By June 30 in 2018, 111 fires had already burned 3,835 ha.

By this time in 2017, 47 fires had burned 329 ha.

“This year it seems like we’re also off to a fairly quiet start,” said Kyla Fraser, information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, adding that it’s hard to predict what the rest of the summer will bring, as this is very dependent on local weather patterns.

“What’s really important is the amount of rain we see between the May long weekend and the July long weekend, and so far we’ve gotten quite a lot of rain. So hopefully that will help throughout this fire season… We’re continuing to see that periodic rain, things are pretty wet out there right now.”

READ MORE: Dog rescued from rocky ledge in Summerland

Fraser explained that they also saw a slower start to the season in 2017, however did not experience the same level of “June rains” that the Okanagan has this past month. This contributed to the amount of fires that ignited following a lightning event on July 7, as ground fuels were significantly drier.

Two fires (as of June 30) are currently burning in the Lillooet area, one started by lightning. Recent thunderstorms in the Okanagan have been accompanied by rain, which assists in keeping fires caused by strikes, at bay.

Lightning strikes that touch down can combust underground for several days, and pop up later.

“We call those holdover fires; just because the lightning has moved through, sometimes it can start a fire even a few days later, but again because we’ve seen so much rain, it hasn’t had the same impact compared to a dry lightning event, where generally that will start quite a lot of fires,” said Fraser.

The current fire rating in the Kamloops Fire Centre ranges from low to very low.

The BC Wildfire Service recently rescinded their category two burning prohibition, however a category three restriction around the Kamloops Fire Centre is still in place.

Be sure to check with your local government for the most updated local burning restrictions.

For more info visit the BC Wildfire Service online at Gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status.

READ MORE: North Okanagan man gives back for Canada Day

READ MORE: Penticton Speedway prepares for first race of the year

@PentictonNews
editor@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

News and Weather

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Wednesday, July 1, brought with it much rain. Penticton is seen in the distance from the Little Tunnel, above Naramata. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Wednesday, July 1, brought with it much rain. Penticton is seen in the distance from the Little Tunnel, above Naramata. (Phil McLachlan - Western News)

Just Posted

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>
CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

Okanagan patients will benefit from the recent inclusion of the Medical Arts Health Research Group in a worldwide study with the National Institute of Health (NIH). The study will be a global collaboration for finding better treatments for COVID-19. (File photo)
Okanagan research group involved with finding better COVID treatments

Okanagan Medical Arts Health Research Group invited to collaborate in global study

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Vancouver International Women in Film Festival kicks off March 5.
Women in Film Festival features two B.C. filmmakers

The 16th annual festival kicks off March 5, 2021

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

A webinar on dealing with dementia will be held Wednesday, March 10, 2021 (Submitted)
Webinar on dementia scheduled for March 10

Okanagan residents invited to event on legal issues surrounding dementia

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Most Read