Wildfire risk remains low in South Okanagan

Wildfire risk remains low in South Okanagan

Summerland fire chief says hazard conditions could change if the warm and dry weather continues

The wildfire risk in the South Okanagan remains low, despite unseasonably warm temperatures in recent weeks.

According to information from the B.C. Wildfire Service, the fire danger rating is low to moderate in most parts of the Kamloops Fire Centre’s coverage area. The Penticton area, which includes Summerland, has a low fire danger rating at present.

However, Summerland fire chief Glenn Noble said fire hazard conditions could change if the warm and dry weather continues.

He said Summerland has received 15 millimetres of rain in the last six weeks.

Over the past week, temperatures have been well above normal for this time of year.

“If the conditions continue, the fire season could begin earlier than last year,” he said.

Last year, spring conditions were wet and as a result, vegetation grew quickly. Then during the hot and dry summer months, the vegetation became fuel for fires.

This year, the flooding in the region has been the result of a heavy snowpack, not spring precipitation.

Although the fire season has not yet started, the Kamloops Fire Centre has imposed some restrictions on open fires. Since May 15 at noon, the size of open fires has been restricted at elevations below 1,200 metres in an attempt to prevent human-caused wildfires.

Campfires that are half a metre high by half a meter wide or smaller are still permitted. The ban also does not apply to cooking stoves using gas, propane or briquettes.

Summerland Review