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BCWS doesn’t predict a break in wildfire activity in August

Hot and dry conditions are expected to continue in British Columbia this month, which means challenging work for the BC Wildfire Service (BCWS) in the coming weeks.

Widespread thundershowers are also forecasted to hit the southern half of the province this week, which means new wildfire starts are anticipated as well as growth in existing wildfires.

As a result, wildfire crews will be arriving from Alberta today for additional support and 512 BCWS personnel are on standby.

There are currently 83 helicopters and 33 air tankers also available for this upcoming weather event.

“I don’t see a break coming through the month of August, aside from the days where our winds are lighter and we get a little bit of light precipitation,” said Neal McLoughlin, BCWS Superintendent of Predictive Services.

“We’re seeing a strong ridge coming up in the week to come, and it’ll likely be reminiscent of the upper ridge we had in late July.”

An upper low is anticipated to come up through the United States and is a concern for a number of reasons according to McLoughlin.

For one, it’ll be bringing in convection and instability which results in these forecasted thunder and lightning storms.

That low can also bring in strong winds which can create faster rates of spread for the active wildfires in the province.

While these storms bring in small amounts of precipitation, it won’t be enough to help crews put these wildfires out.

“One of the factors that is working in our favour is day length, so with every day and week that goes by, our day length is getting shorter and the sun angle is getting lower,” explained McLoughlin.

“So, we will gradually start to see better overnight recovery and trending towards fall temperatures.”

Holdover ignitions are also more likely to pop up as lightning-caused fires may go dormant and remain undetected for multiple days after it starts.

Community members who see smoke are asked to report incidents immediately as they may have been missed by fire crews.

The best way to report a wildfire in BC is by calling *5555, or 1-800-663-5555 or by downloading the new BCWS app, where people now have the opportunity to include pictures and additional information in their reports.

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