Amid the province’s decision to lift travel restrictions, areas affected by wildfires in British Columbia’s southern Interior are preparing for a shift in weather conditions, including rain and the potential for lightning.
Despite the arrival of cooler and wetter weather, firefighters in the southern Interior of British Columbia remain engaged in battling several significant wildfires.
According to the BC Wildfire Service, a combined force of 120 wildland firefighters and 105 structural firefighters are actively deployed to combat the Bush Creek East blaze in the Shuswap region. However, dense smoke hanging over the area is hampering the utilization of fixed-wing water bombers in fire suppression efforts.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has confirmed that the ongoing fire has necessitated the evacuation of approximately 11,000 individuals, leading to the destruction of various structures, including the firehall at Scotch Creek.
Late on Tuesday, Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the region, predicting potential heavy downpours and lightning during the overnight hours.
The current forecast indicates a possibility of continued rain later in the day, with the maximum temperature reaching 18 degrees Celsius. A 70 percent chance of showers is anticipated in the afternoon, persisting through early evening, specifically affecting communities such as Salmon Arm.
However, the expected wet weather comes with the potential for lightning and wind gusts, which could reach up to 50 kilometers per hour in the northern direction.
Kelowna is also expected to experience rainfall today, with a 60 percent chance of showers. This precipitation is set to aid firefighters in their efforts to control the McDougall Creek fire near the city.
Concurrently, the province has lifted travel restrictions for the majority of communities located in the southern Interior, with the exception of West Kelowna.