Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Sahtlam Tree Farm owner Robert Russell is photographed on his property, in the Cowichan Valley area of Duncan, B.C., on July 31, 2021. The recent heat dome and drought have taken a toll on his business of growing trees for the busy Christmas season. Robert farms over 40,000 fir trees including the Douglas, grand and noble fir trees.

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Canadian Press

Recent showers were a welcome relief to firefighters, but the rain wasn’t enough to make long-lasting impacts on wildfires that continue to burn in British Columbia, a Wildfires BC operations director said Tuesday.

However, the weekend rains did help to keep most of the approximately 250 fires burning in the province in check, said Rob Schweitzer.

“The rain received over the weekend has curbed the fire behaviour but only for a short period of time, allowing our crews to make progress,” Schweitzer said at a news conference. “However, the amount of rain was not enough to make any long-term impact, and we’ll be returning to those extremely dry conditions to the southern Interior.”

Story continues below advertisement

He said high temperatures and dry weather are expected to continue in the Interior region for the next two days while variable conditions are forecast for the rest of the province.

As wildfires blaze up north, Indigenous leaders call on Ontario to expand supports for evacuees

From forestry to resorts, the economic fallout from B.C.’s devastating wildfires

Across B.C.’s wildfire country, locals live in fear of heat, haze and hazards to come

“It’s only early August and there’s still a significant amount of fire on the landscape,” Schweitzer said. “Everyone needs to remain diligent.”

Wildfires BC reports 34 fires of note burning in the province, which are fires that are highly visible or considered a danger to the public.

There are 65 evacuation orders in place affecting about 4,300 properties around the province.

The Thompson Nicola Regional District lifted an evacuation order of almost two weeks on Tuesday that allowed residents of about 170 properties in the community of Spences Bridge to return to their homes.

“It’s been a week of steady progress and over the past seven days the average number of fires per day has remained at around below seven,” Schweitzer said. “The total number of fires burning at one time has remained below 250.”

Poor visibility from wildfire smoke has been challenging firefighting efforts, particularly the use of helicopters and small aircraft, he said.

Story continues below advertisement

The smoky skies also created challenges in many communities in B.C.

Wildfire smoke resulted in flight cancellations and delays at airports in Kelowna and Kamloops.

Kelowna International Airport said Tuesday flights in and out were cancelled due to thick smoke and fly zone restrictions in the area.

A statement posted on the airport’s website said a wildfire northwest of Vernon has moved toward Okanagan Lake and a no-fly zone is posted above the fire, impeding planes trying to land in Kelowna.

Kelowna Airport’s senior operations manager posted a statement reminding passengers to check with their airline for up-to-date fight information during this period of adverse conditions.

“(Kelowna Airport), working with the BC Wildfire Service, NavCanada and Transport Canada, have established interim measures to allow instrument approaches and departures to resume,” Phillip Elchitz said in the statement.

Story continues below advertisement

“We expect aircraft operations to restart service later this afternoon, around 3.pm. We appreciate travellers’ patience with this evolving situation.”

Ed Ratuski, managing director at the Kamloops airport, said airlines are attempting to land, and airplanes will land if they can, but many flights end up returning to their point of origin.

“The visibility is not improving at all,” he said in an interview with CHNL radio. “The weather forecast, in terms of visibility, is actually forecast to go down again.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the wildfire smoke can cause health problems for some people, particularly those with breathing issues.

Also Tuesday, the B.C. government extended its state of emergency for another two weeks to support the response to the wildfire situation.

“The Province’s decision to extend the provincial state of emergency will support the significant number of people who remain under evacuation orders and alerts and continues to support the potential of a mass evacuation,” the government said in a statement.

Story continues below advertisement

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies