BC, Alberta cooling down: Expected rainfall offers relief to wildfires

May 22 2023, 6:35 pm

Spring showers for parts of B.C. and Alberta are expected to lend some much needed relief for areas where wildfires continue to burn.

According to The Weather Network, “a long-duration rainfall event is setting up downwind of the Rockies.”

Rainfall warnings are in effect for parts of northeastern B.C. and northern Alberta.

West of Edmonton, like regions near Grande Prairie, can expect the heaviest rainfall as nearly 100 mm is predicted to accumulate by Wednesday, weather experts say.

“This rainfall substantially dampens Alberta wildfire activity, which is welcomed news, as the province is facing its worst wildfire season since 1981 in terms of area burned,” The Weather Network says.

However, the heavy rain over “burn scars” still involves a risk, which can create flood risks.

“The burnt landscape can act as a water repellent, and the missing tree canopies increase the flooding threat as well. Mud and debris flows can also be a hazard with the recently burned landscape, even with a gently sloping terrain,” the network explains.

Thunderstorms also pose a risk for southeastern B.C. and southern Alberta on Monday as it can spark new wildfires.

“In fact, lightning strikes are responsible for hundreds of wildfires across Canada each year,” The Weather Network adds. “They are the most common source for wildfire ignition in Canada, along with human activity.”

However, there is hope that this break from the extreme heat and dry conditions in Western Canada for the remainder of May should help control wildfire efforts.

Nikitha MartinsNikitha Martins

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