|Uncontrolled||Being Held||Controlled||Modified Response|
- Data courtesy of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).
- Check the Air Quality Health Index for air quality in your area.
As of August 29, there are 443 fires burning in British Columbia, of which 255 are out of control. The province is still under a declared Provincial State of Emergency. There are now 34 Evacuation Orders and many areas are under Evacuation Alert, particularly in the Cariboo and Northwest fire regions.
The national preparedness levels are at 5 in both Canada and the United States, indicating that available fire control resources are insufficient for the current level of fire activity. British Columbia is at level 5, with all other agencies at level 2 or below.
Potential for large fires still exists in western Canada, although the chance of new starts is much lower than in the past few weeks. Cool and moist air pouring into western Canada is continuing to fragment the area with high fire danger, with increases in forest floor moisture along the 60th parallel, near the Great Lakes, and in parts of the Coast and Rocky Mountains. The upper ridge that has remained below the Aleutian Islands for the past few days is still in place and directing moist air through Yukon and the Gulf of Alaska, southeast across British Columbia across the Prairie Provinces.
One burst of moisture is passing through western Canada Tuesday and Wednesday (August 28-29). About 20mm or more of rain has likely fallen in the northwest corner of British Columbia near Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek. Amounts are difficult to confirm at the time of this document. A band of rain is exiting the Prince George region, although amounts are likely to be light in the large fire area west of Prince George. Band of showers are also crossing southern British Columbia and central Alberta. Cloud with patchy shower or thundershower activity covers much of the remainder of the country, with the southern Prairie Provinces and southern Maritime Provinces under clears skies. A band of stronger thundershowers are developing between eastern Ontario and northern New Brunswick along a frontal boundary stretching between Labrador and the USA Midwest.
Pulses of moisture arrive in British Columbia every 24 to 48 hours, with varied amounts of rain across the province. While parts of the province have received enough to help extinguish some fires, the large fire area west of Prince George remains mainly dry. These disturbances drift east across the Prairie Provinces and bring cool temperatures and rain to much of the region, then the storm path rises to the northeast across Hudson Bay, drawing moisture northeastwards from the USA and across eastern Ontario and Quebec. Bands of showers or thundershowers should cross the Atlantic region every three or four days; these regular rainfalls help guarantee fires remain small and isolated.
This weather pattern appears to remain static for several more days, with regular bands of moisture entering British Columbia and crossing western Canada, although large disturbances giving widespread heavy rain are not expected. This should provide a gradual reduction in fire activity, although the drier areas with large fires will likely to carry activity for few more weeks. Most regions should not sustain large numbers of human-caused fires with fine fuels moist enough to prevent much growth. The area susceptible to lightning starts is shrinking, but Vancouver Island, the Interior Plateau, and the southern Interior of British Columbia remain dry enough that lightning can continue to create fire starts. The region between Lake Athabasca and Great Slave Lake and the southern Manitoba/Ontario border also remain dry enough that lightning could contribute a few fires. Areas that receive sufficient moisture to wet the deep forest floor layers may be in good shape going into the autumn as lightning activity starts to taper off in September and the longer periods of darkness help reduce daytime evaporation, ensuring ignition sources dwindle and fire weather indexes do not rebuild to extreme levels.