VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Our province will be in for an extremely long and expensive wildfire season if the latest fall forecast comes true. The latest outlook from Accuweather predicts the unusually dry and warm weather will continue right through the fall.
Accuweather predicts a high-pressure system off the coast will detour the usual Pacific storms and arctic air away from our area. That would mean our dry forests would get little relief and fires would continue starting and burning through the fall.
David Phillips with Environment Canada says their preliminary outlook matches with Accuweather’s on temperature. “We don’t see any change in late August, September, October, may even November. Now of course, because it’s the fall, it will be a little cooler than it would in the summer, but generally the pattern is the same.”
Phillips says precipitation is very hard to forecast. “With warm than normal, you’re going to need more precipitation just to be balanced off. And it’s possible. You’re seeing only about a quarter of your normal precipitation since May, and there have been years where you’ve made that up in September.”
Environment Canada will release its fall outlook in early September.
BC has spent about $200-million fighting wildfires this year. That’s much more than the $63-million set aside. The extra money will come from provincial contingency funds. The BC NDP worries we won’t be financially prepared for a more unexpected disaster if contingency funds are drained fighting fires. It continues to call on the BC government to increase the yearly wildfire budget.