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Dry, Sunny spell in Metro Vancouver brings fire risk

Last Updated Apr 16, 2021 at 7:29 pm PDT

FILE: Downtown Vancouver, Second Beach, the Sea Wall, Stanley Park, English Bay and Lost Lagoon are seen here from the air in the summer of 2019. (Riley Phillips, NEWS 1130 Photo)

The Fire Danger Rating in the region on Friday is moderate

Dry, hot conditions increase the risk of wildfires which are often human-caused at this time of year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The recent stretch of rain-free weather along the South Coast means the region is starting to dry out, leading to increased concerns about wildfires.

The Fire Danger Rating in the region on Friday is moderate, meaning “forest fuels” are dring out which increases the risk of fires starting and spreading.

Sarah Hall with the B.C. Wildfire Service says they know people will be headed out this weekend to continue soak up the sunshine and warm temperatures, and is reminding people they have a crucial role to play in prevention.

A lot of the fires this time of year are human-caused and can be completely preventable. So, the B.C. Wildfire Service is asking the public to be extremely vigilant with open burning at this time,” she says.

“There’s a huge responsibility for each individual to make sure if they are going to be having campfires to be really vigilant and safe.”

NEWS 1130 Meteorologist Michael Kuss says the amount of rain recently has been unusually low.

“In March we only saw 28 millimetres of rain, normal is 114 in the area. In April, so far, four millimetres — that’s it. That’s all we’ll likely see through week three if not beyond,” he explains.

That lack of mousture comes as the South Coast sees temperatures that could set records.

The wildifre service’s seasonal outlook for April notes grassfires have already been reported, but have been successfully contained.

“These fires have occurred in valley bottoms where light fuels are able to dry out quickly in sunny or windy conditions. This is a typical pattern for this time of year, and B.C. Wildfire Service is expecting wildfire activity to increase in snow-free areas with these light fuels (grasses and needles). This hazard will decrease as grass becomes greener,” it reads.

A grass fire near Highway 1 in Chilliwack Thursday filled the air with smoke. The highway remained open, although the nearby rail lines were shut down.

According to Hall, it’s too early to predict what kind of wildfire season is in store for B.C., since May and June generally “set the table” for what’s in store during the summer’s warmest months.

With files from Lisa Steacy