The Keremeos Creek Wildfire southwest of Penticton, British Columbia, intensified overnight and jumped across a road, and after it started on Friday, dozens of homes were evacuated.
This is one of many fires that have flared up in the province after a week of extreme temperatures. Of the 70 active wildfires in British Columbia, 43 have occurred in the last two days.
A wildfire near Penticton is currently burning 1.5 square kilometers, up 50% from Friday night. Much of the growth was seen after the fire spread east across Green Mountain Road. according to the British Columbia Wildfire Service.
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“We will continue to see hot and dry conditions over the next few days as this wildfire unfolds,” said Aidan Koray, a fire information officer. “Although the fuel was dry, it will continue to dry out as we see it. [relative humidity] decrease even more, and the hot and dry weather continues.”
Korey said it is difficult to predict where the fire will grow and whether it will move towards Penticton given the volatility of the situation. According to her, security guards of the building remain at the scene.
The cause of the fire has not yet been established. It is currently burning 21 kilometers southwest of the city of Penticton, located in southern British Columbia, close to the US border.
Fire near Lytton continues to burn
The Keremeos Creek Wildfire is the second “notable fire” in British Columbia, meaning it is particularly visible or a threat to public safety.
The first fire of the season, the Nohomin Creek Fire northwest of Lytton, continues to burn over an area of 29.1 square kilometers after it started on July 14. Lytton was almost completely destroyed by a raging wildfire just over a year ago.
The fire at Nohomin Creek displaced about 100 people and destroyed at least 10 structures. Some of the evacuation orders issued by local authorities have been downgraded, but many remain in effect as of Saturday.
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Carly Derosier, a fire information officer, said the fire is not expected to grow significantly due to suppression efforts, but fire activity is still visible on the northwest flank of the blaze.
“Today we are seeing the expected decrease in humidity. [Saturday] compared to yesterday,” she said. “This is likely to affect the behavior of the fire, and it may burn more actively than yesterday, but this is not unexpected.”
Also as a result of the fire closure of the nearby Stein Nlaka’pamux Valley Heritage Park. Derosier says that without a steady cooling trend, the fire will likely continue to burn.
“I would say the biggest problem right now here and elsewhere is the heat,” she said.
Thousands of lightning strikes
According to the fire department, in the province almost 4000 lightning strikes over the past two days, most of which were in the hinterland.
Currently, 45% of wildfires in British Columbia this season have been caused by lightning, and 48% by human activity. Most of the province is with a “high” fire hazard class as of Saturday.
The province of British Columbia was struck by lightning 3,995 times during lightning storms yesterday and last night. The majority (about 2,500) were at the Kamloops Fire Center, with the remainder at Prince George’s, Southeast, and Cariboo Fire Centers. pic.twitter.com/MtMXBMIM7i
While there is a province-wide ban on open fires, small fires are still allowed, which means keeping fires less than half a meter high and wide, and having water or tools nearby to keep them under control.
Fire Information Officer Jean Strong said on Friday that there is no ban on campfires at the end of the summer. Fire centers are monitoring the situation closely, Strong said, and if conditions change in the coming weeks, a ban could be put in place.