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Dry conditions prompt wildfire, drought concerns in B.C.


There is little relief for British Columbia's wildfire fight in the immediate forecast.

In the Coastal Fire Centre, the Newcastle Creek fire has grown to 208 hectares Friday and remains out of control.

It is more than five kilometres away from the Village of Sayward, which has not ordered any evacuations at this time.

But Jamie Pond didn’t want to take any chances. She and her husband took their boat to Echo Bay, where they have a home for work.

“For us, it's really concerning because we could lose everything we have there,” Pond told CTV News. “If there's a shift in the direction of winds, you know, five kilometres is not very far and it could shoot over that little mountain range so easily.”

There are no concerns of wind gusts at the moment, just more dry weather.

“We see forest fuels that are drying out until we have a significant amount of rainfall, which as we know is not in the current forecast,” said Kimberly Kelly, a spokesperson for the Coastal Fire Centre.

Armel Castellan, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said there is a small chance of rain for much of the South Coast, adding what the region needs is a "Juneuary."

This weather phenomenon is when June sees weather systems similar to those in January.

“These are the systems that are kind of nebulous; they don't move very quickly, like the winter storms that have a lot of power. These ones stick around and they bring some moisture and they're kind of what we need in order to really put to bed all of the dryness that we've been accumulating for months -- if not several seasons,” Castellan said.

The spring snowmelt is also almost gone, he said, which creates an even drier landscape.

“So it really does spell out pretty droughty looking bleak future for the coming weeks and months,” he said. “We're well into the start of a drought, when typically we haven't seen those numbers this early in the season – so, it is saying a lot.”

According to B.C.’s drought information portal, much of the province is seeing drought levels one and two, meaning adverse drought impacts are rare or unlikely.

The eastern Peace region is seeing possible negative impacts of drought.

Typically during this time of year, B.C. should be sitting at level zero, Castellan said.

Over to northeastern B.C. and the Cariboo region, there will be some storms and gusty winds where out-of-control wildfires continue to rage on.

“Very challenging conditions for fires that are already existing. And of course, possible lightning overnight Saturday into Sunday, which could start new fires on a landscape that is pretty parched and dry,” he said.

BC Wildfire Service encourages anyone who sees an out-of-control wildfire or campfire to call 1-800-663-5555 or *5555 on a cellphone. Top Stories


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