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Crews battle grass fire west of Kamloops, B.C., as dry conditions continue

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 06 Jun, 2019
  • Crews battle grass fire west of Kamloops, B.C., as dry conditions continue

More firefighters are expected to arrive in an area west of Kamloops, B.C., to help contain an aggressive wildfire that scorched a square kilometre of grassland, sage and bush within hours.

The blaze, which is believed to have been started by humans, broke out near Savona Wednesday, severing Highway 1 between Kamloops and Cache Creek

Crews were able to reopen the highway after the flames responded well to suppression efforts.

Several aircraft were assigned to the fire Wednesday, but strong and gusty winds complicated the work.

At one point, the flames had burned below power lines cutting electricity to about 400 customers, but the BC Hydro website shows power was restored within hours.

Environment Canada reports a "precipitation deficit" in the Kamloops area after an extremely dry spring and even the five to 10 millimetres of rain expected across the region this weekend won't be enough to erase the parched conditions.

Forecaster Matt MacDonald says last month was the seventh warmest May in the region since 1893, while Kamloops only saw 64 per cent of normal precipitation for the month — the third dry month in a row.

“We're sitting about 50 millimetres short of normal rainfall amounts. The spring, as a whole, was very dry,” MacDonald says.

“There's just such a significant precipitation deficit for the first part of the year for most of the Southern Interior."

After weekend showers pass through MacDonald says hot, dry conditions are forecast to return with temperatures in the low 30s expected to last for a week or more.

June rains are common in British Columbia and the wildfire service says moisture in June is the key to keeping the forest fire risk in check through July and August.

There are currently no burning bans in the Kamloops or southeast, but campfires are banned in one zone of the northeast.

Open fires larger than a campfire are restricted in the Coastal, Cariboo, Northwest and Prince George fire centres.

 

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