PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Officials with the BC Wildfire Service say that thunderstorms sparked more than 40 wildfires across the Prince George Fire Centre.
Fire Information Officer Amanda Reynolds said that in total, 42 lightning-caused fires were started across the Fire Centre on Wednesday, though most of those were sparked in the Prince George, VanJam, and Mackenzie fire districts. Across the province, a total of 98 fires were started, nearly all by lightning.
#BC saw significant lightning activity over the past 24 hrs. As a result, 98 new wildfires started today – the majority being lightning-caused. The coloured circles on the map below indicate where lightning struck today. #BCwildfire pic.twitter.com/hfCBXSn3St
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) June 21, 2018
Three fires were started in the Chetwynd Fire District, two of which are spot fires in the area near Hasler Flats. The largest fire started in Northeast B.C. on Wednesday is the 60-hectare Boulder Mine Fire, which is burning south of the Bullmoose Mine near Tumbler Ridge. Reynolds said that local industry workers are currently using heavy equipment to build containment around the fire while a Wildfire Service unit crew travels to the fire today.
We’re responding to dozens of new fires across #BC this afternoon, mainly due to intense lightning in central and southern BC. Largest so far is a 90 ha #BCwildfire ~15 km west of #BurnsLake (pictured below). It’s burning aggressively & visible from nearby communities & #BCHwy16 pic.twitter.com/b0QBghyZAT
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) June 20, 2018
According to Reynolds, most of the fires were started after a group of thunderstorms formed at around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday. She explained that most of those fires are located in remote areas, but that unfortunately most of the thunderstorms did not result in significant rainfall.
With the current severe thunderstorm watch in effect for most of the B.C. Interior combined with the current fire danger rating between high and extreme across much of Northern B.C., Reynolds said that the Wildfire Service is anticipating more fire starts in the Peace Region later today. She said that crews are on standby in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, and Fort Nelson, with a para-attack crew based at the North Peace Airport. Reynolds added that more crews are also being brought in from other areas of the province to prepare for the possible increase in fires today.