Wildfire official warns Nelson: ‘Don’t get complacent’

July was not as wet as we thought, says Ron Lakeman of the Southeast Fire Centre.

It rained 27.2 mm in the West Kootenay this July

Just because this summer is not as hot as last, and just because Nelson doesn’t have a wildfire on its doorstep this year, don’t get too comfortable.

That’s the advice of Ron Lakeman of the Southeast Fire Centre in Castlegar.

“Most people will tell you that July was a wet month, but the stats suggest otherwise,” Lakeman says. “We got showers and thundershowers moving through frequently, but we didn’t get large amounts of rain.

We could still get into a drought cycle. We have had active fire seasons in September. If we were to get a hot dry couple of weeks here and get some lightning, things could be very different.”

It rained 27.2 mm this July, compared with the July norm of 48.1 mm and the record in 1998 of 143.2 mm.

In the Kootenays in July of 2015 there were 279 active fires. This year there were 41.

Frequent rain like we had last month, even though there may not be much of it, dampens the fire danger, Lakeman says.

“To have it rain every 3 to 5 days (maintains) the moisture level of the forest floor. So even though we may be getting lots of lightning we are not getting a lot of starts and we are not getting big fires because the fuel is just not that receptive.”

The highest temperature in July, 2016, was 35.9 degrees on July 29. The mean for July is 19.8 degrees, and the record is 39.9 degrees set in 2003.

Another factor that influences fire danger is the snowpack. In mid-winter the West Kootenay snowpack was normal, but because of a warm May, much of it was depleted, putting us in t he same position as last year,mediated by more rain and cooler temperatures.

In the meantime, having learned the lessons of last summer when Nelson came close to running out of water, the city changed its water bylaw in June to put us permanently on water restrictions. What used to be Level 1 water restrictions has become business as usual, year round. That means lawn watering is allowed only every second day.

On August 17 the city, the Regional District of Central Kootenay and BC Parks will hold public sessions on what they are doing to reduce fire danger and what private landowners should do.

 

Just Posted

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Coffee card donations return at Wait’s News

The program supplied over 200 cards last year

Trafalgar students build home for sanctuary horse

Grade 8 students collaborated on a project with a local farm sanctuary

Nelson won’t restrict parking amnesty to West Kootenay

So far, more than 800 people have responded with amnesty payments

CFIA announces recall of some types of cauliflower, lettuce due to E. coli fears

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has announced a recall of certain types of cauliflower and lettuce due to possible E. coli contamination.

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

Merriam-Webster has chosen “justice” as its 2018 word of the year, driven by the churning news cycle and President Trump’s Twitter feed.

‘Spider-Verse’ swings to the top; ‘Mortal Engines’ tanks

“Spider-Verse” has been very well-received among critics, and audiences in exit surveys gave it a rare A+ CinemaScore.

Canadians spent almost $64,000 on goods and services in 2017

Households in B.C. each spent $71,001 with housing costs contributing to higher average

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

RCMP estimated more than 1,500 people attended the rally in Grande Prairie

White House closer to partial shutdown with wall demand

Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight on Friday, Dec. 21

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

Most Read