The fire in the Elaho Valley west of Pemberton is 40 per cent contained.

The fire in the Elaho Valley west of Pemberton is 40 per cent contained.

Campfire ban, heat wave warning issued for southwest B.C.

Wildfire risk high, with an expanding pocket of extreme near Harrison Lake

The rising threat of wildfires has led to a campfire ban across much of southwestern B.C.

The ban declared by the Coastal Fire Centre takes effect noon Saturday and covers the entire Lower Mainland except where fires are allowed by local municipalities, and all but the northernmost part of Vancouver Island.

The fire danger rating is high across the Lower Mainland and there’s a pocket of extreme fire risk region on the east side of Harrison Lake, said fire information officer Donna MacPherson.

She said the extreme risk area is expected to expand because there’s no significant precipitation in the forecast, while a heat wave this weekend is expected to bring temperatures of up to 29 near the water and the low 30s inland, further drying the fuels in the forest.

“We’re a little concerned that people don’t understand how dry it is,” MacPherson said. “We’re seeing dryness that normally occurs in late July or August, instead of at this time of the year. June is typically our wet month.”

Long grasses that are tinder dry can easily be sparked by thrown cigarette or an ATV that drives through, she said.

There’s potential for thunderstorms with lightning on Monday, but the storms aren’t expected to bring enough broad-based rain to reduce the fire risk.

The main fire still burning in the area is the 568-hectare Elaho Valley fire west of Pemberton. It’s 40 per cent contained.

A small 0.5 hectare fire broke out near Harrison Lake Wednesday night but was quickly knocked down, thanks in part to the close proximity of the new Fire Boss water-scooping amphibious planes that are based in Abbotsford.

There are no major sources of wildfire smoke blowing into southwest B.C. right now, but residents can check the forecast for smoke at www.bcairquality.ca./bluesky.

More than 530 fires have already been ignited across B.C. this year, and more than 63,000 hectares has burned.

Area covered by Coastal Fire Centre campfire ban.

Heat wave warning issued

Environment Canada is warning southern B.C. is in for a “major heat wave” this weekend.

The special weather alert says the high temperatures will increase the risk of heat-related illnesses.

“An exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure will build over Western Canada this Friday and Saturday allowing hot air to invade Southern B.C.,” it says.

“Temperatures are expected to approach 40 degrees over the Southern Interior and the low thirties along the South Coast.

“The highest temperatures are expected Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon. Several daily temperature records are likely to fall with the possibility of monthly records falling come the end of June.”

A weak weather disturbance moving onshore Sunday evening will bring the chance of thunderstorms over the South Coast. High cloud ahead of the system may decrease the temperatures slightly Sunday afternoon.

A slight cooling trend will begin Monday however the unseasonably hot weather will persist through Canada Day.

More than 100 firefighters are working the Elaho Valley fire west of Pemberton.

Just Posted

(Maps.Chilliwack.com)
RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Agassiz toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Woody’s RV World hosts a grand opening for its brand-new Abbotsford location on Saturday. (YouTube)
Woody’s RV World hosts Abbotsford grand opening on Saturday

First-ever B.C. location for successful RV chain, located on Marshall Road

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read