BC Wildfire Service file.

BC Wildfire Service file.

So far, fire season in Kamloops region about average

Unseasonably warm temperatures as of late are drying out ground fuel

  • Apr. 20, 2021 2:30 p.m.

-Kamloops This Week

B.C. wildfire crews continue to tend to a fire burning 18 kilometres northwest of Merritt that has grown to 100 hectares in size.

Fire activity elsewhere in the Kamloops Fire Centre remains low, however, with 10 active fires and only one blaze of note.

The Petit Creek fire near Merritt was sparked on the weekend and quickly grew on Monday due to high winds. There was no lightning in the area, so the BC Wildfire Service has assumed it to be a human-caused blaze.

Evacuation alerts were issued on Mondau by the Thompson -Nicola Regional District for properties in the Canford and Miller Estates subdivision, in electoral areas N and M.

On Tuesday, the wildfire service said it had dispatched 42 personnel, two pieces of heavy equipment and two helicopters to fight the flames.

The Kamloops Fire Centre has seen 1,646 hectares burned to date.

Fire information officer Gagan Lidhran said that while early season fire activity is not unusual, unseasonably warm temperatures as of late are drying out ground fuel that has not yet had a chance to green up or take on moisture from precipitation.

“With warm temperatures and windy conditions, there’s still a risk for fires to spread quickly, so we’re asking the public to be extremely cautious with any type of open burning,” Lidhran said.

The fire danger rating for the region was pegged at low on Monday, while most of the northern part of the province was given a moderate rating.

Lidhran said that rating may not account for the fact that, currently, the region is still seeing deep temperature drops overnight, with fuels needing to reheat during the day in order to become more dangerous.

“That won’t be the case for the rest of the season,” she said.

The wildfire service is currently predicting a normal wildfire season, according to its seasonal outlook released on April 12.

Precipitation in the coming months will be a key factor in predicting the severity of this year’s wildfire season, Lidhran said.

Mother Nature may lend a land later this week as, following a stretch of sunny and warm weather, showers and cooler temperatures are expected on Friday and through the weekend.

READ MORE: Penticton man drowns swimming in Okanagan Lake

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