Drought Danger: Victoria had its driest spring on record

WatchThis has been the driest spring ever in Victoria. Nanaimo and Campbell River also broke records. Tess van Straaten reports.

It’s another sunny and dry day on the driest part of Vancouver Island.

Greater Victoria and the East Vancouver Island are now at drought level two after a record-dry spring.

March, April and May — meteorological spring — saw just a fraction of the normal rainfall at the Victoria airport.

Typical rainfall for those three months would total around 163.8 mm but we only received 53 mm.

That’s less than a third of normal, making 2021 the driest spring on record for Victoria.

“It’s always surprising to start to see those numbers come in and really hit those extremes,” says Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan.

Nanaimo saw its fourth driest spring since 1893.

The Harbour City received just 74.7 mm instead of precipitation instead of the normal 243.7 mm, making it the fourth driest spring on record.

Campbell River had its sixth driest spring on record.

“Definitely a multi-week, multi-month signal we’ve been experiencing and it’s not just isolated to one or two locations,” Castellan explains. “It’s really right across the south of B.C.”

That means the wildfire danger will be very high this summer unless we get a good soaking this month.

“For the coastal area, we count on June to bring us lots of moisture to keep the forest moist and the fuels on the group moist and humidity up,” says Dorthe Jakobsen of the Coastal Fire Centre.

“Without that, the forest fuels get really dry and the ignition is really easy and quick and it makes fighting those fires more difficult.”

It’s a big concern, given that there have already been almost twice as many fires this year in the Coastal Fire Centre.

“The 10-year average is 29 and we’ve had 56,” Jakobsen explains “It is concerning to us of course because these are all suspected human-caused and all human-caused fires are preventable.”

They’re urging people to use extreme caution outdoors … especially with summer expected to be warmer than normal.

If you see a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 1-800-663-5555.

March, April and May — meteorological spring — saw just a fraction of the normal rainfall at the Victoria airport.

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Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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