April 21st, 2024

Eby warns B.C. summer ‘might be a very difficult one’ as drought persists

By The Canadian Press on March 18, 2024.

British Columbia is introducing technology to improve wildfire prediction and decision-making even as the association representing Canadian insurance companies warns residents about the potential for another destructive fire season.The Elephant Hill wildfire burns in the distance near Clinton, as seen from behind a mountain on Kamloops Lake in Savona, B.C., on July 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – Forecasters in British Columbia say the province could experience an active spring wildfire season this year due to persistent drought conditions.

Premier David Eby warns the summer “might be a very difficult one” after a record-breaking wildfire season in 2023.

A statement from the province says fire activity is expected to increase if there continues to be limited precipitation over the next several weeks and months.

Officials say early outlooks indicate a “high probability” of above normal temperatures across B.C., but add drought and wildfire conditions this year will depend on the actual weather in the spring and summer.

They say numerous holdover wildfires in the northeast have smoldered through the winter, and once the snow melts and the land dries out, drier air and moderate winds will be enough for them to start burning again.

Officials say new human-caused fires have already happened this year because of the incredibly warm, dry and windy conditions.

At an earlier press conference announcing $80 million to help farmers cope with drought, Eby said the province “can’t afford to be subtle” when it comes to climate change.

“The climate here in B.C. is changing really rapidly,” he said.

“We are seeing records set for everything from drought to snowfall to heat and what we are hearing from experts is that this summer might be a very difficult one.”

The premier attributed the conditions to the cumulative effects of low snowpack, drought and higher temperatures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2024.

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