Lightning strikes ignited new wildfires across BC yesterday and more lightning is expected in parts of the province again today.
Provincial Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says lightning ignited a whole bunch of new fires in the last 24 hours.
“We certainly did see a pretty big uptick in activity yesterday a lot of that attributable to lightning. 26 new fires yesterday alone. Real hot and dry temperatures exacerbated by some pretty significant winds particularily in the Southern part of the province. We did see four new wildfires of note start yesterday.”
Skrepnek says among the new wildfires are four ‘fires of note’ or really large dangerous blazes.
Skrepnek says a severe thunderstorm watch for areas of the interior, Kootenays, and Similkameen will be a mixed blessing.
“It is really going to be a factor of where we see rain, how much comes, how long it lingers for, and then how much wind we see with this system in terms of what effect it is going to have on the existing fires we are responding to across the province, including the Rock Creek fire. Also in terms of the number of new fires we see as a result of this system as well.”
He says as of yesterday 196-million-dollars had been spent fighting the flames, that was before the Rock Creek fire so the budget will cross the 200-million mark today.
In the Southeast Fire Centre where the Rock Creek blaze is burning Fire information officer Fanny Bernard says lightning strikes have sparked another ten wildfires overnight and more lightning is expected today.
Another wildfire has crossed from the US into Canada causing more evacuation orders and alerts.
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen chair Mark Woods says the Sidley Mountain fire is burning about 50 hectares of land on the Canadian side of the border.
“It threatened homes on the Anarchist Mountain area and Sidley mountain area. In support of that fire the regional district placed evacuation orders on five homes on Nine Mile Place and a number of homes North of that location on Raven Hill road on evacuation alert. Approximately 20 homes.”
Woods says the homes are in no immediate danger and the move was more precautionary than anything else.