|With the summer came thunderstorms and bone-dry weather conditions to British Columbia. Aggressive wildfires have burned more than 236 square kilometres of B.C. so far this year. Of the more than 550 fires the province has seen since April, nearly half were ignited in the last two weeks. |
Fire ecologist Robert Gray says moisture in March in April combined with warmer temperatures to create more vegetation.
In the B.C. Interior, that means mostly shrubs and long grasses that quickly dry into kindling. And then there are all the dead pine trees ravaged by years of pine beetle infestation.
"Now we have the kind of fuel that makes fires grow very, very fast and very, very big," Gray said.
'Nothing really we can offer'
Warmer temperatures in the past two weeks alone were enough to dry the grassland out.
And then came the dry lightning and winds. An estimated 14,000 residents have already been evacuated.
Over 10,000 residents of Williams Lake and its surrounding areas are under an evacuation alert late Monday with fires burning up large chunks of B.C.
It is the largest city currently facing such a threat after weeks of hot weather, followed by strong wind and lightning ignited the bone-dry forest of B.C.'s Interior on Friday, leading to a weekend of wildfires, road closures, evacuations and a provincial state of emergency.