New records, new fires after scorching hot weekend

The first official full weekend of summer produced record high temperatures at many Environment Canada weather stations across the province including Fort St. John.

The local airport station posted Saturday and Sunday highs of 28.7 C and 27.9, easily surpassing the 15-year-old June 27th mark of 26.6 C and just enough to top the 65-year-June 28th mark of 27.8 C.

Across the province, at least 34 weather stations set record highs on Saturday and 30 more on Sunday including Osoyoos on Saturday — the hot spot at 40.9 C — and then yesterday Warfield near Trail at at 41.1 C.

Locally, indications are a third consecutive record high will be posted at the airport station today, with the forecast calling for 31 C, and the 1978 record at 28.6 C.

As a result, there are renewed drought and wildfire concerns, with the local airport precipitation total still at 43.3 millimeters — 22.3 mm  less than the June norm.

Addressing the wildfire risk, Bill Adams of the Insurance Bureau of Canada said, “There’s no question that this year’s wildlfire risk has the insurance industry and British Columbians concerned for good reason.

“We’ve seen far too often what can start as a small fire quickly escalates to a massive, out of control inferno.”

The Wildfire Management Branch now has three fires of note posted for the Prince George Fire Centre, and by far the biggest is still the Little Bobtail Lake Fire just off the southwestern shore of Norman Lake, west of Prince George.

First discovered back on May 8, it is 100 per cent contained, but remains active and now covers more than 25,000 hectares.

Two other fires — both caused by lightning — are located in the Northeast and first discovered last week now covers an estimated 3,500 hectares about 115 kilometres northeast of Fort Nelson.

It has resulted in an oil and gas camp evacuation alert for 15 people, and though the fire is being actively monitored it’s not being actively suppressed, the Wildfire Management Branch says.

However, the second fire — the Mount Bigfoot Fire discovered yesterday — is about 90 kilometres southeast of Fort Nelson and threatening a nearby structure to the east.

At last word, it covered only 1,300 hectares, but had led to the dispatch of both fire-fighting resources both by air and one the ground.

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