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HomeNewsRecord-breaking heat elevates fire risk on Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast

Record-breaking heat elevates fire risk on Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast

We’re on the tail end of a spring heatwave for the ages.

A ridge of high pressure that brought warm, dry air to the region was behind the sampling of mid-July weather.

Courtenay saw single-day heat records fall last Wednesday, April 15th, when it got as hot as 21 C, and on Saturday (April 17th), when it reached 20.4 C.

Just north of us in Campbell River,  four daily heat records fell from April 14th to 17th. It really sizzled on Friday and Saturday, when Environment Canada recorded daily highs of 24 C.

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Environment Canada Meteorologist, Lisa Erven, says this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill stretch of mild weather.

“When daily temperature records are broken, sometimes we only see them being broken by point-five degrees or a degree,” Erven said. “This actually brought temperatures that broke records by two, three, or even four degrees.”

The stretch of summer-like conditions elevated the fire danger risk from low to moderate across the Mid and North Island and on the Sunshine Coast.

Moderate means forest fuels are drying and there is an increased risk of surface fires starting. 

For those who wouldn’t mind seeing some cooler weather and rain enter into the picture, we’ll be seeing the ridge of high pressure weaken as the week goes on.

Erven says that we’ll stay “three-to-five degrees above normal,” over the next two or three days before a somewhat dramatic shift in the weather pattern.

“So instead of having a ridge of high pressure parked over the province, that ridge is going to slowly dissipate as we get towards the end of the week, and allow weather systems to approach from the Pacific Ocean,” Erven explained. 

“It’s going to bring in a cooler, maritime air mass, and then showers start to re-enter our forecast beginning on Friday.”

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