CANADA – While the wet summer weather has put a damper on outdoor activities this year, it also has resulted in significantly fewer forest fires.
The Prince George Fire Centre area has had 43 wildfires so far this year, which have burned a total of 203 hectares, according to data released by the BC Wildfire Service on Monday.
The 10-year average for this time of year is 178 fires burning an average of 57,252 hectares. Last year there had already been 115 fires and 7,555 hectares burned by this time.
“July weather systems produced scattered rain events over the northern half of the province, whereas warmer, drier days were experienced throughout the south,” an update published by the BC Wildfire Service said. “Of the 36 wildfires (throughout B.C.) in July, the majority occurred in the south half of the province. In July, many wildfires burned with low intensity and were surface fires with little control difficulties. ”
Of those 36 fires, seven were sparked by lightning strikes. Only five grew larger than one hectare.
“Additionally, there have been 124 nuisance fires throughout the province. By BC Wildfire Service definition, a nuisance fire is a fire which does not spread to forest or range land or beyond an area authorized for burning,” the statement said. “Examples of nuisance fires include abandoned campfires or burning vehicles and equipment where the fire does not spread to surrounding vegetation.”
As of July 23, there were 218 wildfires throughout the province, burning a total of 714 hectares.
The five-year average for this time period is 797 fires and 165,724 hectares burned. The 25-year average is 757 fires and 60,199 hectares burned.
Current weather models predict wind, warmer temperatures and low humidity for the southern parts of B.C., the statement said. Those conditions increase the risk of wildfires.
In the north, the wet weather in June and July means the wildfire risk will remain lower.
“There is a high probability of initial attack success in the north as indices have been moderated by June and July rain events,” the BC Wildfire Service said.