Fire rating for Cowichan Valley currently sits at ‘low’

The fire rating for the Cowichan Valley, and for the whole of Vancouver Island, is currently at “low”.

  • Apr. 22, 2016 8:00 p.m.

ROBERT BARRON CITIZEN

The fire rating for the Cowichan Valley, and for the whole of Vancouver Island, is currently at “low”.

That’s despite the fact that a state of emergency has been declared in northern British Columbia, where a number of wildfires have burned buildings, forced residents from their homes and closed roads. A notice posted on the Peace River Regional District’s web page said a large area has been placed under a state of emergency because there is danger to people and property due to the wildfires.

Donna McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Coastal Fire Centre, said the conditions in northern B.C. have been different throughout the winter months from southern sections of the province, including Vancouver Island.

She said the three-year drought the southern part of the province has been experiencing ended over the winter due to the fact that sufficient amounts of rain fell to finally end it.

“It was a fairly wet winter on the Island, and the rain was sufficiently spaced out that it didn’t just run off but ran deep into the forest floor, making for wet and green conditions on the ground so far this spring,” McPherson said.

“But the drought continues in northern B.C. because they had no snow pack to speak of this winter and the snow melted early, leaving dead grass on the ground that dried up in the sun.”

McPherson said the long-range forecast for the Island is for a warmer than usual summer, but the amount of rain fall is expected to be normal or above normal.

“A lot depends on the conditions in June, and we can’t accurately predict long-range forecasts beyond a couple of weeks,” she said.

“But, hopefully, we’ll have our usual June with periods of nice weather followed by periods of rain that will take us into the forest-fire season that begins in July. If that happens, it will be great because we had no rain last June, which contributed to the drought last summer.”