Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for a large swath of the B.C. Southern Interior, which could lead to additional fire starts during an already challenging start to the fire season.
Experts say conditions are favourable for the development of “dangerous” thunderstorms, bringing strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.
“We are looking at unstable conditions over a lot of the southern B.C. interior so this is generating thunderstorm activity and it is moving across the area,” said meteorologist Gregg Walters.
“Right now, the one of most concern for the Kamloops area is just passing to the north of the city , not that far from the Sparks Lake fire, and there are lightning strikes associated with this.”
Officials warn that hot and dry conditions may lead to dry lightning for some areas.
Fire near Spotted Lake area
“Very strong wind gusts can damage buildings, down trees and blow large vehicles off the road,” the warning stated.
“Lightning kills and injures Canadians every year. Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors!”
The warning cover the Thompson – Nicola, Shuswap, North Okanagan (including Vernon), Arrow Lakes, Slocan Lake, northern Kootenay Lake, and East Kootenay – North (including Invermere).
Meanwhile, a heat warning and air quality advisory remain in effect for the Okanagan.
Daytime highs range from 31 to 35 degrees Celcius combined with overnight lows of 17 to 20 degrees Celsius.
Fire on McKinney Rd. in Oliver
“This record-breaking heat event will increase the potential for heat-related illnesses and increase the risk of wildfires due to drought conditions,” the heat warning stated.
There are 199 active fires burning in B.C., and 46 were sparked in the past 48 hours.
On Monday, an evacuation order issued due to a fast-moving wildfire northeast of Oliver was lifted as the Wolfcub Creek blaze is now classified as “being held.”
The Osoyoos Indian Band had declared a local state of emergency and ordered the evacuation of 14 homes last night while other properties were put under evacuation alert.
Evacuation orders remain in place for a handful of the nearly 200 active fires currently burning in B.C., including the fire that destroyed most of Lytton and killed two people.
Residents have been forced out of 164 homes in the Sparks Lake area north of Kamloops and nearly 700 properties near Deka Lake east of 100 Mile House.
1,300+ homes in B.C. face evacuation orders as 150+ wildfires rage
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