(Black Press files)

Anticipated rain a ‘wildcard’ for B.C.’s wildfires

Fire officials unsure how rain will affect the 126 fires in the southern Interior until it arrives

After nearly two months of tinder-dry weather, the B.C. communities hit hardest by wildfires could be seeing a bit of rain this weekend.

Environment Canada is forecasting a chance of scattered showers along the coast and into the southern Interior and Cariboo.

But BC Wildfire Service chief information officer Kevin Skrepnek said exactly how the wet weather will affect the 126 active fires in the region won’t be known until the rain arrives.

The rain is forecast to come with wind, which could be problematic for crews battling more volatile fires – such as Elephant Hill burning at 117,000 hectares in size near Clinton and the Chilcotin fire complex.

“Rain is a real wild card to try and forecast this far out,” Skrepnek said Wednesday.

Then there’s the chance of the upcoming rain turning to thunderstorms with lightning, which has been the culprit behind about 70 per cent of wildfires in 2017.

“Whether [the rain’s] a help or a hindrance remains to be seen,” he said. “Certainly though, getting some rain on these fires would be welcome but if we’re getting this unstable weather with it it might be a bit of a mixed blessing.”

Weather forecasts suggest the rain will begin Saturday on the coast, with scattered showers in areas of the Cariboo and southern Interior through to Sunday, when weather is expected to remain at cooler temperatures.

Until then, back country areas remained off-limits to the public and off-roading bans also remain in effect.

How much rain is enough rain?

In July, a day of rain in Williams Lake had offered a glimmer of hope for the then-evacuated city.

RELATED: It’s raining in Williams Lake, but not for long

The next day the BC Wildfire Service reported 32 more fires were caused by lightning in the Cariboo and Kamloops fire regions.

At the time, Environment Canada meteorologist Cindy Yu said short spurts of rainfall allows for a break in the heat but aren’t enough to make a real difference on larger wildfires burning.

Just Posted

Choral Extravaganza brings valley choirs together

Sunday concert features six choirs singing together

Visiting Vees pound West Kelowna Warriors

The Vees got hat tricks from two players en route to an 11-3 win

Food hamper program in need of more donations

More than 125 hampers are given out to residents of the Lower Similkameen before Christmas.

Alleged affair leads to assault in Princeton

Remorse and a clean record result in suspended sentence

Pepperoni costs Hedley man $500

A Hedley man enjoyed a snack and then refused to pay for it - landing him in court

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Drones take off to search for missing North Okanagan women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Choral Extravaganza brings valley choirs together

Sunday concert features six choirs singing together

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Most Read