A cooling trend with potential rain showers across much of British Columbia is expected to ease wildfire conditions for the next 36 to 48 hours, but hot, dry weather is set to return by the end of the week.
The immediate forecast is welcome and will temporarily ease wildfire suppression efforts, BC Wildfire Service information officer Erika Berg said in an interview.
It ranges from spotty showers in the southwest to steady rain in the north, with fewer lightning strikes and cooler temperatures provincewide.
There are currently 417 active wildfires in B.C., with 220 out of control and 14 listed as wildfires of note.
The wildfire service classifies a fire of note as one that is especially visible or poses a threat to public safety.
“We’re seeing a bit of a downturn in weather and fire conditions over today and maybe the next couple of days,” said Berg on Tuesday. “However, near the end of the week we’re anticipating a ridge to rebuild and bring some further warming and drying. So, despite seeing a bit of a reprieve we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Lightning remains in the forecast, with the heaviest risk in the northeast, but the current weather is reducing the likelihood of lightning-caused wildfires, she said.
“It’s not like we’re looking at (the same) dry lightning potential,” said Berg.
The forecast comes after crews faced a busy long weekend that included evacuations and dozens of new wildfires, largely attributed to lightning.
A fire northwest of Princeton that was sparked by a malfunctioning ATV grew quickly and forced the evacuation of about 1,000 people at a nearby music festival on Sunday night, said the wildfire service.
Crews are trying to contain the estimated 16-hectare fire in the Princeton area.
Evacuation orders and alerts remained in place for separate fires northeast of Kamloops on both sides of Adams Lake in the Shuswap region where gusty winds were expected, before showers and below-average temperatures on Wednesday.
Eighty-five more properties are now on evacuation alert after one of the two fires at Adams Lake, the roughly 18-square-kilometre Bush Creek East blaze, grew Monday.
North of Whistler, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has confirmed two cabins and as many as 14 outbuildings on nine properties at Gun Lake were destroyed last Tuesday by the nearly 25-square-kilometre Downton Lake fire, but no injuries were reported.
The regional district said a recreational property had also been destroyed by the Casper Creek wildfire which has charred nearly 46 square kilometres since it broke out on July 11, forcing evacuation orders and alerts along the north shore of Anderson Lake and a section of Seton Lake, west of Lillooet.
A statement from the regional district said it is hiring a manager to guide the recovery process for all its affected residents.