Widespread rain in the forecast today throughout much of British Columbia’s southern Interior is expected to aid firefighters pushing back against a number of major wildfires in the region.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District says while cooler weather brought winds that may increase fire behaviour at the Bush Creek East blaze near Chase, the rain is “creating conditions for firefighters to increase their attack” on the fire now measuring 431 square kilometres.
Environment Canada weather radar showed light-to-medium precipitation was falling this morning from Merritt to Salmon Arm, stretching over parts of the Fraser Canyon, Central Okanagan and Shuswap regions.
Forecasts call for showers to continue until at least noon for communities including Kelowna, Lytton and Salmon Arm, all adjacent to major wildfires that have forced evacuation orders.
The cool, wet weather has already tempered blazes such as McDougall Creek in the Central Okanagan, Ross Moore Lake south of Kamloops and the Kookipi Creek fire near Lytton.
Officials in both the Thompson-Nicola and the Fraser Valley regional districts downgraded a number of evacuation orders linked to the Kookipi Creek wildfire to alerts yesterday, with the BC Wildfire Service saying some parts of the fire received up to 16 millimetres of rain.
Evacuation orders were also downgraded to alerts in the Bear Creek Road area of West Kelowna in relations to the McDougall Creek fire, as well as in Turtle Valley in the Thompson-Nicola region close to the Bush Creek East blaze.
In addition, previous alerts for residents to be prepared for evacuation on short notice have been outright cancelled in parts of Westbank First Nation and the Boucherie Industrial Area in the Central Okanagan.
The BC Wildfire Service website shows 422 active fires across the province, with 195 burning out of control and 12 listed as “fires of note” due to their high visibility or potential threat to the public.
This year’s record wildfire season has already burned 19,111 square kilometres of land in B.C., with 72 per cent of the more than 2,000 fires recorded so far being triggered by lightning.
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