Rain fell across the Okanagan last night for the first time in 45 days. Image Credit: Contributed

Rain relief across Okanagan

But more precipitation needed to curtail current extreme fire hazard

The summer drought came to an end at least statistically across the Okanagan last night with the return of rain.

But in terms of impacting the extreme fire hazard within the Kamloops Fire Zone, which includes the Okanagan region, we will need to see a lot more precipitation in the immediate days ahead.

Rachel Witt, fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, says anywhere from one to three millimetres of rain fell last night across the fire zone.

“It’s helpful at this point but with the rain also came lightning and erratic winds so it’s a bit of a double edge sword,” Witt said.

What is needed, she says, is for extended rain to fall and soak into the ground to help suppress the wildfires currently burning.

“The weather forecast is calling for more precipitation over the next couple of days so hopefully that will be the case and we will see how that does to the fire danger rating, but again that also comes with wind and lightning which can increase fire behaviour,” she noted.

Witt says temperatures are expected to cool down with the rain forecast for the early part of this week, followed by the return of hot, dry weather although likely not reaching the 30 Celsius range experienced in recent weeks.

“It’s going to be a bit unstable after that, so we’ll have to wait and see,” she added.

There are currently 133 wildfires larger than .01 hectares burning across the province.