A warning sign about fire risk is seen as smoke from wildfires fills the air in Kelowna, B.C., on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Northeast B.C. swelters as Shuswap region hopes for rain

Large portions of northeastern British Columbia continue to swelter a day after some areas hit daily record temperatures.

Environment Canada says temperatures will again push near or past 30 C in parts of the Peace River Regional District and the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality.

The heat warning is expected to be in place until this evening.

Historic records for daily high temperatures for Aug. 28 were broken Monday in Fort St. John, Dawson Creek and Fort Nelson.

Fort Nelson reached 33.9 C, almost six degrees higher than the previous record for that day recorded in 1986.

The BC Wildfire Service has cautioned that warm, dry conditions in northern parts of the province have led to increased fire activity in the region, with the Fort Nelson First Nation putting two reserves on alert.

Meanwhile, crews battling a destructive wildfire in the Shuswap region are hoping for help from rain that could begin falling in the area Tuesday night.

Mike McCulley, an information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, says it’s unclear how much rain could aid their efforts as the last amounts varied widely across the 430-square-kilometre Bush Creek East blaze, from just one millimetre to 15.

Temperatures in Salmon Arm and Kelowna both breached 30 C Tuesday with no precipitation recorded.

While fire behaviour has picked up with hot and dry conditions over the last few days, McCulley says there’s been no major growth on the fire, which destroyed or significantly damaged nearly 170 properties just over a week ago.

The nights are getting longer, he adds, which should be “a huge help” in the battle.

John MacLean, director of the emergency operations centre for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, says staff began reaching out Monday to residents whose properties have been affected by the wildfire.

It’s among just over 380 active blazes throughout B.C., including 12 “wildfires of note,” meaning they’re highly visible or pose a threat to public safety.