Dry summer ahead

The Columbia Valley is set for warm, dry conditions this summer compared with past years.

  • May. 27, 2015 5:00 p.m.

Kevin Nimmock



The Columbia Valley is set for warm, dry conditions this summer compared with past years. According to AccuWeather, the conditions will have far more serious impact than simply allowing people to get out to the beach more regularly.

The unusually warm winter of 2014/15 across western Canada resulted in the survival of a large population of Pine Bark Beetles.

“The beetle has been causing tremendous damage to western forests, making them more susceptible to devastating wildfires,” the most recent report from AccuWeather read.

In tandem with the beetles, AccuWeather is predicting a high number of thunderstorms in the area, which will lead to dry lightning strikes. The strikes are known to cause fires.

According to the Southeast Fire Centre, the dry weather conditions are indeed a cause for extra concern about forest fires.

“So far in May, we have had just 50 per cent of the normal precipitation from past years,” Fire Information Officer Sandy Bernard said. “It is quite dry out there, so people should be extra alert.”

In response to an increased number of fires during the last month, Bernard said the Fire Centre decided to institute a category two and category three fire ban on May 22. Only small campfires are now permitted.

“Even when you are lighting a campfire, you still need to check venting and wind,” Bernard said. “If the wind is strong enough that it could carry embers or sparks then it is just not a good time for fire.”

Bernard said the recent fire trend can be mitigated by increased attention and preparedness.

“All of our fires so far this year have been caused by humans,” Bernard said. “I think what happens in a lot of cases is that people are surprised by the wind and they are just not prepared to deal with how fast fire spreads.”

As the temperature continues to rise this summer, residents are asked to stay current with warnings to find out what sort of fire is permitted. Bernard said that the Fire Centre will have to play it by ear in terms of preparing for forest fires, since long-term weather predictions rarely reliably forecast weather for more than a few days in advance.

“We have a good idea of what to expect in the short-term,” Bernard said, “but we are always prepared for fire season.”

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read