Heat warnings and special weather statements cover most of southern British Columbia as temperatures are forecast to soar through the weekend, magnifying anxiety about wildfire risk.
Environment Canada says humidity will make it feel like the mid- to high 30s across the south coast and inland sections of the north and central coasts, while it could feel hotter than 40 C in parts of the Interior as heat arrives there on Thursday.
The BC Wildfire Service fire danger map shows risk levels have returned to high or extreme across southern Vancouver Island and most of the central Interior following last weekend’s showers.
With no rain in the forecast and roughly 270 fires raging in B.C., the risk is expected to rise sharply along with the temperatures and gusty winds over fires such as the 556-square-kilometre White Rock Lake blaze between Kamloops and Vernon.
The wildfire service says helicopters rushed to cool hot spots on the southeast flank of that fire near Okanagan Lake late Tuesday, and evacuation orders or alerts remain posted by four regional districts, two First Nations and the City of Vernon.
Nearly 6,600 square kilometres of trees and bush have burned in B.C. since April 1 and the wildfire service says more than 30 fires considered threatening or highly visible dot all corners of the province.
The wildfire service says a blaze sparked a month ago in the Fraser Canyon just south of the devastating June 30 Lytton fire now covers 38 square kilometres.
Northerly winds are in the forecast and there’s concern they could push flames toward the canyon community of Kanaka Bar.
An evacuation alert was issued for eight nearby properties last weekend and the wildfire service says structure protection crews assessed the area this week and have created a plan to protect homes and other structures.
—The Canadian Press