Smoke from the Tremont Creek wildfire burning on a mountain rises in the distance behind a home in Ashcroft, B.C., on Thursday, July 15, 2021. British Columbia's wildfire danger map shows a low to moderate fire risk over much of the province after a rainy weekend, but the extreme risk is expected to resume quickly as another hot spell arrives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Rain calms B.C. fire starts, lowers wildfire danger but relief not expected to last

Rain calms B.C. fire starts, lowers wildfire danger but relief not expected to last

British Columbia’s wildfire danger map shows a low to moderate fire risk in much of the province after a rainy weekend, but the extreme risk is expected to resume quickly as another hot spell arrives.

The Ministry of Forests says about 270 wildfires are currently burning, most in the southern Interior, with just eight sparked over the last two days.

One of the most concerning remains the White Rock Lake fire between Kamloops and Okanagan Lake, which has scorched nearly 560 square kilometres, destroyed properties east of Kamloops and forced thousands from their homes.

The BC Wildfire Service says it is building a contingency machine guard south of the fire in case the wildfire pushes forward.

It is burning in one of two B.C. regions still ranked at high to extreme risk of wildfires but a damp weekend cut the chance of embers flying across Okanagan Lake, allowing Vernon to lift its evacuation alert — although orders or alerts from three regional districts, two communities and two First Nations are still in place.

The mayor of Chase, a village threatened by the north flank of the fire, says in a statement that gusty winds are expected in the region today, while a wildfire service spokesman says hot weather forecast for later this week could mean the return of aggressive activity.

The province says nearly 6,600 properties remain on evacuation order across B.C., while residents of more than 32,000 properties have been told to be ready to leave on short notice.

The wildfire service said there are no planned ignitions for the White Rock Lake fire as crews work to contain the out-of-control blaze.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press

B.C. Wildfires 2021