BC Hazy – Partly due to Russia

Smoke from wildfires burning in Russia are contributing to hazy conditions throughout most of British Columbia, notes an alert from the province’s Wildfire Management Branch.

Generalized smoke was being reported on Aug. 16 in Port Alberni, Pemberton, the Fraser Valley and many parts of the southern and central interior.

“We do have active fires throughout the province, but do not currently have any wildfires that would produce this amount of smoke,” the alert says. The smoke from Russia is being drawn across the Pacific as a result of the current weather pattern.

On Aug. 14, the centre had responded to 47 new wildfires in B.C. in the past week, 43 of these caused by lightning. At that time, the Five Mile Creek fire measured 1.6 hectares and was 75% contained; a fire northwest of Castlegar was 1.5 hectares and 80% contained; and the Skimmer Horn Mountain fire was 56 hectares and 45% contained.

“The fire danger rating is moderate to high across most of the centre with pockets of extreme in the Arrow, Kootenay Lake, Boundary, Invermere and Cranbrook zones,” the Wildfire Management Branch reports. Fire risk was expected to increase as temperatures rise and dry conditions continue over the next few days. From April 1 to August 14, 34% of the 95 fires to which the centre responded were caused by humans.

In the U.S., media reports state that as of Aug. 15, more than 49,000 wildfires were reported to be burning, fed by high heat, strong winds and ongoing drought conditions.