A thrashing of wet weather this Summer is helping the fight against wildfires in the Prince George Fire Zone. However, dry conditions are on the way and we may not be out of the woods just yet says Senior Protection Officer, Brent Bye. “If we get into a long term drying trend which they’re kind of calling for, we might in a week or two be seeing ourselves behind the 8-ball.”
This year’s trend is actually a lot more unusual than in the past. The Prince George Fire Centre has seen less fires, but the area burned is more substantial than normal. Lightning fires are a low, while human caused fires have spiked compared to the ten year average.
2016 10 Year Average
210 Fires 237 Fires
91,000 hectares burned 51,000 hectares burned
141 Human Caused 102 Human Caused
69 Lightning Fires 135 Lightning Fires
Over the weekend, you may have noticed a thunderstorm or two. In fact, it might have been one of the best light shows on record says Environment Canada Meteorologist, Matt MacDonald. “In about a 50 kilometre radius around Prince George there was 21 hundred lightning strikes over the weekend,” MacDonald said. “The average for the year in Prince George is typically four thousand so we had about a half of the year’s lightning strikes in just one weekend.”
Bye, says there was certainly no shortage of lightning. “We’ve really got hammered by lightning in the last couple of weeks, but there’s been a substantial amount of precipitation too, so the number of fire starts we’re having is actually below average.”
Meantime, MacDonald says dryer conditions are on the way. “The next precipitation only arrives perhaps Sunday or Monday of next week so definitely drying,” he said. “People definitely want to be careful with campfires and such when they’re camping and in the back country.”
Bye mentioned our fire level is currently low, but dry conditions could result in another restriction on burning put into place in the next couple of weeks.