Parts of BC can expect to see rain in their forecast, but Environment and Climate Change Canada says it might not be enough to stop the spread of wildfires.
According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre an increase in warm, dry weather, and recent droughts have produced conditions favorable to produce a string of wildfires right across the county which has forced more than 100,000 people from their homes.
Warning preparedness meteorologist Sara Hoffman provided a picture of the current wildfire situation across the county, saying it is not expected to end anytime soon because of unprecedented drought and increased weather patterns.
Hoffman says BC residents should be cautious about the oncoming weather since storms have the potential to be unpredictable and change at a moment’s notice.
“We have rain and wind in the forecast for much of BC,” she says. “The system coming in will bring rain, but also a shift in wind direction. The windspeed will pick up and will directly have an impact on wildfire behaviour and direction.”
Hoffman referenced the wind change along the coast of Vancouver Island saying it will have a direct impact on wildfire behaviour right across the country.
“The more intense winds are already forming along the west side of Vancouver Island,” she says. “Those winds are expected to shift from northwestern to east eventually making their way to the Prairies, by later this week.
“This will have an impact on wildfire smoke dispersion.”
She says predicting smoke patterns from wildfires is almost impossible because of the complications deriving from individual fires and their behavior.
“A number of factors go into forecasting wildfire smoke,” Hoffman says. “They range from the fire’s behavior to wind direction aloft and on the surface.
“We have a little less confidence forecasting smoke and it is exacerbated the further out you go, so we have less confidence [for this week] to predict where smoke will end up.”
Currently, Environment and Climate Change Canada is forecasting showers and thunderstorms for western Canada until Thursday.
According to the BC Wildfire Service, there are currently 419 wildfires across the province covering 715,370 hectares. They determined 61 per cent are human-caused while 32 per cent occurred naturally, and seven per cent are undetermined.