Wet summer puts regional wildfires on pace for record low

The Southeast Fire Centre is experiencing a very slow forest fire season, due largely to very wet months in June and July

Controlled slash fires in the Mt. Macpherson area have been about the only fire action in the Revelstoke area this wet summer.

The Southeast Fire Centre is experiencing a very slow forest fire season, due largely to very wet months in June and July.

Had it been any other year, the spectacular thunderstorm in the skies over Revelstoke on the evening of Aug. 6 would likely have touched off a few. But due to wet conditions, the storm hasn’t started any confirmed fires, although crews are still searching for any potential starts.

As of Aug. 3, there have been 39 fires burning a total of 175 hectares. That’s way below the five-year average of 184 fires burning 1,300 hectares by this point in the summer.

Fire Information Officer Karlie Shaughnessey said at this rate it is on pace to be the slowest fire season in 50 years of recorded wildfire history.

The Southest Fire Centre hasn’t had a notable wildfire since May 15, when a fire burned a modest 53 hectares southwest of Invermere.

Rain is at the root of the slow season. Revelstoke has been very wet in June and July.

Southeast Fire Centre forecaster Ron Lakeman said a Ministry of Forests weather station near Revelstoke got 191 mm of rain in June – that’s 255 per cent of normal.

July was also wet. The same station got 74 mm of rain, or 114 per cent of normal.

On the whole, the Southeast has been wet, but the Revelstoke area has experienced more rain than southern regions in the district.

Shaughnessey said the forest is slowly drying out “a little bit” and that should continue into August.

“Campfires are still a go as long as you keep them small,” Shaughnessey explained. There is an open burning ban, but campfires less than 50 centimetres in height and diameter are still allowed.





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