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More than 300 wildfires burning in B.C.; most ignited last weekend

Since April 1, 2023, 904 wildfires have burned over 1.15 million hectares of land. There are over 300 active wildfires, nearly two-thirds of which ignited this weekend. There are 13 wildfires of note.

Between July 7 and 9, there were over 23,000 lightning strikes province-wide, sparking nearly 200 new wildfires and resulting in an additional 5,600 hectares burned. The majority of this activity occurred within the Prince George and Northwest Fire Centres. This lightning activity was compounded by ongoing drought conditions and high temperatures. Additional lightning-caused starts are expected in the week ahead.

Several evacuation alerts and orders came into effect over the weekend, primarily impacting communities in the Northwest, Prince George and Cariboo Fire Centres. Please visit Emergency Info BC for up-to-date evacuation information or refer directly to the regional districts, First Nations or other local governments issuing the alerts and orders.

All open burning, including campfires, is prohibited across the province (excluding Category 1 campfires in Haida Gwaii) as of July 10 at 3 p.m. (PDT).

International personnel from Mexico and the United States are currently deployed to northern regions in B.C., and the province has secured additional aviation resources in recent days. The BC Wildfire Service continues to coordinate additional out-of-province resources through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).

Weather

Wildfire hazard continues to build with persistent hot, dry conditions and more lightning in the forecast. Due to a lack of wind in the upper atmosphere, parts of B.C. may experience a phenomenon known as “pulse thunderstorms” today, which will cause intense, localized storm cells to sit in place for prolonged periods. The lightning risk is highest for parts of the Northwest, Prince George, and Cariboo Fire Centres.

The current trend is forecast to stabilize by the end of the week, decreasing the risk of widespread thunderstorms. However, deep and persistent drought conditions remain.

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