B.C. Coastal Fire Centre says despite rain, wildfire season outlook is uncertain

B.C. Coastal Fire Centre says despite rain, wildfire season outlook is uncertain

June 20 will officially mark the first day of summer in B.C. and early forecasts show it could be a warm and very dry one for the entire province.

While rain soaking up the Island in the last few days may be a bit of a downer for some, it’s good news on the wildfire front.

Jade Richardson of the Coastal Fire Centre told CHEK on Tuesday, “Spring rainfall and low temperatures traditionally do support lower spring wildfires starts along the coast.”

With fires already threatening some communities in B.C., the province warned that we could be in for another dangerous drought year.

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“The snowpack, particularly on Vancouver Island, is starting to melt now, so we kind of come into the year with below-normal water stored in that snowpack,” said Dave Campbell, head of B.C.’s River Forecast Centre.

Below-normal water likely brings with it an increased potential for wildfires.

The Coastal Fire Centre says despite the rainy weather this time of the year, it’s too soon to predict what the coming wildfire season may look like.

“Currently, with the rains, the fire danger rating is sitting at very low to low on Vancouver Island specifically,” said Richardson.

“We are right about average on the coast with 25 wildfires reported so far this year, compared to 28 at this time last year.”

Richardson added where this number differs slightly is in terms of hectares burned, with 2024 showing below the 10-year average so far, with just over 28 hectares burned on the coast compared to an average of 82 hectares.

According to the Coastal Fire Centre, there have been 13 wildfires so far in the coastal region, with four of them on Vancouver Island.

They said, despite the rain, all it takes is just two to three days of hot dry conditions to really change how things are.

Harry CorroHarry Corro

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