Strong variable winds this weekend expected to increase wildfire activity

Priorities: protecting first responders, public, transportation routes, fighting new fires

As residents head home to Spokin Lake and other areas around Williams Lake this week after evacuation orders were downgraded to alerts, wind and storms with the potential for lightning are expected to increase wildfire activity in the region this weekend. Photo submitted                                As residents head home to Spokin Lake and other areas around Williams Lake this week after evacuation orders were downgraded to alerts, wind and storms with the potential for lightning are expected to increase wildfire activity in the region this weekend. Photo submitted

As residents head home to Spokin Lake and other areas around Williams Lake this week after evacuation orders were downgraded to alerts, wind and storms with the potential for lightning are expected to increase wildfire activity in the region this weekend. Photo submitted As residents head home to Spokin Lake and other areas around Williams Lake this week after evacuation orders were downgraded to alerts, wind and storms with the potential for lightning are expected to increase wildfire activity in the region this weekend. Photo submitted

A cold front bringing strong and variable winds, with gusts up to 60 kilometres per hour is

expected to move through the Cariboo Fire Centre on Friday, Aug. 18 and into the weekend, reports Cariboo Fire Centre information officer Natasha Broznitsky this afternoon.

There is also a risk of lightning throughout the fire centre.

A shift from prevailing southwesterly winds to westerly and northwesterly winds is also expected.

Given the current wildfire situation in the Cariboo Fire Centre, the BC Wildfire Service anticipates that this weather system will lead to a substantial increase in wildfire activity throughout the region.

This wind event could cause existing fires to grow significantly and any new fires may burn aggressively and spread quickly. Firefighting crews have spent the last few days preparing for these expected conditions, but containment efforts will be challenged by this wind activity.

A shift in wind direction presents challenges to fire suppression efforts and increases risks to firefighters. Wind coming from a different direction can push wildfires into unburned fuels and trigger volatile fire behaviour.

Although a small amount of rain is expected in the Cariboo Fire Centre over the next couple of days, the amount of rainfall will vary by region and will not be substantial. Rain can help decrease fire behaviour temporarily, but its benefits can be short-lived if hot and windy conditions return.

The BC Wildfire Service’s priorities in the Cariboo Fire Centre this weekend are ensuring the safety of first responders and the public, protecting transportation corridors and conducting aggressive initial attacks on any new fires.

The BC Wildfire Service is urging members of the public to remain vigilant. To report a wildfire or an open burning violation, please call 1 800 663-5555 or *5555 on a cellphone.

For up-to-date information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, call 1 888 3-FOREST, or visit: www.bcwildfire.ca

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Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, BC Wildfire Service

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect