The fire in the Elaho Valley west of Pemberton is 40 per cent contained.

Campfire ban, heat wave warning issued for southwest B.C.

Wildfire risk high, with an expanding pocket of extreme near Harrison Lake

The rising threat of wildfires has led to a campfire ban across much of southwestern B.C.

The ban declared by the Coastal Fire Centre takes effect noon Saturday and covers the entire Lower Mainland except where fires are allowed by local municipalities, and all but the northernmost part of Vancouver Island.

The fire danger rating is high across the Lower Mainland and there’s a pocket of extreme fire risk region on the east side of Harrison Lake, said fire information officer Donna MacPherson.

She said the extreme risk area is expected to expand because there’s no significant precipitation in the forecast, while a heat wave this weekend is expected to bring temperatures of up to 29 near the water and the low 30s inland, further drying the fuels in the forest.

“We’re a little concerned that people don’t understand how dry it is,” MacPherson said. “We’re seeing dryness that normally occurs in late July or August, instead of at this time of the year. June is typically our wet month.”

Long grasses that are tinder dry can easily be sparked by thrown cigarette or an ATV that drives through, she said.

There’s potential for thunderstorms with lightning on Monday, but the storms aren’t expected to bring enough broad-based rain to reduce the fire risk.

The main fire still burning in the area is the 568-hectare Elaho Valley fire west of Pemberton. It’s 40 per cent contained.

A small 0.5 hectare fire broke out near Harrison Lake Wednesday night but was quickly knocked down, thanks in part to the close proximity of the new Fire Boss water-scooping amphibious planes that are based in Abbotsford.

There are no major sources of wildfire smoke blowing into southwest B.C. right now, but residents can check the forecast for smoke at www.bcairquality.ca./bluesky.

More than 530 fires have already been ignited across B.C. this year, and more than 63,000 hectares has burned.

Area covered by Coastal Fire Centre campfire ban.

Heat wave warning issued

Environment Canada is warning southern B.C. is in for a “major heat wave” this weekend.

The special weather alert says the high temperatures will increase the risk of heat-related illnesses.

“An exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure will build over Western Canada this Friday and Saturday allowing hot air to invade Southern B.C.,” it says.

“Temperatures are expected to approach 40 degrees over the Southern Interior and the low thirties along the South Coast.

“The highest temperatures are expected Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon. Several daily temperature records are likely to fall with the possibility of monthly records falling come the end of June.”

A weak weather disturbance moving onshore Sunday evening will bring the chance of thunderstorms over the South Coast. High cloud ahead of the system may decrease the temperatures slightly Sunday afternoon.

A slight cooling trend will begin Monday however the unseasonably hot weather will persist through Canada Day.

More than 100 firefighters are working the Elaho Valley fire west of Pemberton.

Just Posted

Qualicum Beach craft beer festival to showcase local brews, spirits

Event will feature 20 Vancouver Island breweries and distilleries

Vandals wreak havoc on Parksville flower beds

‘Senseless’ act causes thousands of dollars in damage

Parksville senior weightlifters prepare for world championships

Couple training for August event in Montreal

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Top B.C. court upholds ruling that struck down indefinite solitary confinement

Feds had appealed ruling in case brought by B.C. Civil Liberties Association, John Howard Society

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

B.C. students’ camping trip goes ahead despite tents getting stolen

Nanaimo businesses, school staff and parents ensure trip goes on

Only legal pot shop between Vancouver and Kamloops now open

Private cannabis store on Skwah land in Chilliwack is first B.C. licensee to be Indigenous owned

Most Read