Low rainfall may elevate drought, wildfire risks in B.C. this summer

The minister of emergency management and climate preparedness said Thursday that the province has learned lessons from the 2021 floods. (Drive BC)

Low rainfall could exacerbate drought and wildfire risk in British Columbia this summer

The findings come from a technical brief on seasonal emergency preparedness

British Columbians in the southern part of the province are likely to enjoy a cooler spring, but a lack of rainfall since last fall could lead to an increased risk of summer drought and wildfires, officials said.

The findings come from a seasonal emergency preparedness update ahead of the spring runoff and wildfire season.

Weather analysts say the risks British Columbians may face this spring and summer are directly related to the unusual conditions seen in the province last fall.

October 2022 was one of the driest and warmest Octobers on record, with daytime highs consistently 4-10 degrees above normal as the province experienced very limited precipitation during the normally rainy months. Rainfall has been below seasonal levels for the rest of the year and has continued into this spring, resulting in below-seasonal snowpack in the province.

The result is an early wildfire season. The B.C. Wildfire Agency said Thursday (April 13) that fire crews are already busy with 11 fires this season, two of which are man-made.

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