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PHOTOS: 825,000 hectares have burned as wildfires rage across B.C.’s Interior

‘It doesn’t solve the problem, but it helps’ said one official about the latest bit of rain
Oliver Kwantes, 7, squeezes in some fun at Pebble Beach in Lake Country Aug. 13, 2021, as the smoke from the White Rock Lake wildfire moves in. (Dori Hewitson - Contributed)

The rain didn’t pour down Monday night – but the drizzle that did fall was just enough to help dampen some of the roughly 300 wildfires burning in B.C.’s Interior – the latest act by Mother Nature welcomed by residents and fire crews alike.

“It doesn’t solve the problem, but it helps,” Todd Nessman, manager of fire operations for BC Wildfire Service, said in a news release Tuesday (Aug. 17).

It rained about 0.5 millimetres in Kelowna, 10.8 mm in Vernon and 11.6 mm in Merritt, where thousands of residents remain on evacuation alert. Some regions are still seeing spurts of rain, with more in the forecast overnight.

ALSO READ: Coquihalla reopens to essential travel only, no stopping

In fact, after a day and a half of being closed, officials were able to re-open the Coquihalla to traffic, so long as commuters drive right through with no stopping.

Quick wildfire stats:

  • Since April 1 there have been 1,513 wildfires, 264 currently burning 850,000 hectares of land
  • Total personnel: 3,627, of which 1,185 are contract firefighters and 519 are from out-of-province
  • There are 86 evacuation orders in effect, impacting 8,262 properties
  • There are 125 evacuation alerts ongoing, impacting 22,729 properties

Weather will dictate weeks ahead

Mid-way through August, many are looking to back to school and fall. But for fire crews in the Interior, it’s a matter of day-by-day.

Nessman told reporters that another drying trend is expected to begin Wednesday but forecasts are calling for cooler temperatures than the prior weekend’s hear.

ALSO READ: 10 Okanagan Indian Band homes, 1 business lost in White Rock Lake wildfire

He said the “series of lows coming through the province” will help in the battles against the largest fires, namely the destructive White Rock Lake fire, Lytton Creek fire and July Mountain wildfire.


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Glenrosa on Sunday night, Aug. 15, 2021. (Lia Carte/Contributed to Black Press Media)
A man looks towards the White Rock Lake fire from downtown Kelowna on Aug. 15, 2021. (Aaron Hemens/Kelowna Capital News)
Adams Lake when the Embleton Mountain fire flared up in August 2021. (Stephanie Hagenaars/Black Press Media)
Downtown Kelowna waterfront, looking north toward the White Rock Lake fire on Aug. 15, 2021. (Michael Rodriguez/Kelowna Capital News)