For firefighters, June heat means watching out for forest fires, cliff jumpers
Megan Devlin, CTV Vancouver
Published Saturday, June 24, 2017 5:36PM PDT
Last Updated Sunday, June 25, 2017 11:48AM PDT
The Lower Mainland is getting its first dose of summery weather this weekend, but for firefighters across the province that hot weather means fighting more wildfires and keeping hot city dwellers safe.
In B.C.'s Interior, firefighters are focused on containing wildfires of this weekend. There are 18 burning across the province, but only two currently burning that the BC Wildfire service has deemed noteworthy, according to Ryan Turcot, an information officer with the service.
One fire is burning a 36 hectare area roughly 40 kilometres southwest of Lac la Hache, a recreation and retirement community in the Cariboo region.
Turcot told CTV News the fire is contained but the service is still classifying it as out of control because they're nervous it could spread beyond control lines.
A second and bigger fire was discovered yesterday in a more remote region near Owen Lake. That one is about 70 hectares in size.
"We're seeing a pretty quick increase in the fire danger rating across most areas of the province due to the hot and dry weather conditions we've seen over the last few days," Turcot said.
He added that the province had a mild spring fire season—seeing only 182 wildfires so far this year compared to a 10-year average of 363. But spring fire seasons don't usually influence summer fires. If weather stays hot like this, crews could be in for a busy few months.
Meanwhile, firefighters in North Vancouver are focused on keeping people safe while they enjoy the city's outdoor recreation spots.
At Lynn Canyon, hundreds of people take a dip in the cool pools of water in between waterfalls. Brian Hutchison, assistant chief with District of North Vancouver Fire Rescue, says the scenic river also attracts cliff jumpers.
"It's out there on social media. A lot of people are attracted to cliff jumping," he told CTV News.
In this hot weather, one of the dangers of cliff jumping is actually the cold.
"The water levels are still very high. The water is still extremely cold," Hutchison said. "There are a lot of risks involved—hypothermia is one of them."
Anyone hoping to summit one of Vancouver's mountains on a weekend hike should be careful to stay hydrated, he added.
Saturday and Sunday will be the two hottest days of a "mini heat wave," according to Trevor Smith with Environment Canada. Vancouver could be on track to break a heat record Sunday.
"Typically… we talk about the June Gloom around Vancouver," Smith said. "So it's nice to see. We had a very wet spring."
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Sarah MacDonald.