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Rain, rain, go away; go to where the fires play!

July 24, 2015

first-rain-since-03

We’re finally getting some light rain here in Vancouver, B.C., after how many weeks and days without? Forecasters are predicting three straight days of the wet stuff, right through the weekend.

This rain is good news for property owners who have been abiding by Metro Vancouver’s Stage three water restrictions by totally abstaining from watering their lawns — and good news too for those scofflaws who  haven’t — the rain gives them a plausible reason why their lawns are green rather than brown.

A water tap over parched earth beside the soot-brown filter over an air intake.

A water tap over parched earth beside the soot-brown filter over an air intake.

As for topping up the levels of the Seymour and Capilano water reservoirs, I have no idea if three days of precipitation will amount to any more than a drop in the bucket.

And there’s the matter of the wild fires.

Where there’s Hope there’s fire

canada-fire-map-with-hope

A fire map shows the rain (in green) isn’t where the fire is. — USDA/Google Earth

Watching the rain fall on West Broadway Avenue this morning, a friend declared: “It’s a whole different ball game once you get past Hope”.

He was referring to the town of Hope, which is about 152 km northeast from Vancouver as the car flies along the Trans-Canada Highway. But what he meant was it was a far cry from where the rain was falling in Vancouver to where it was most needed.

According to data from both the B.C. Wildfire Service and the USDA, at 9  a.m. this morning, it wasn’t raining where the highest concentration of wild fires were burning; not in British Columbia and not on the east side of the Rockies, in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where the fires are larger and more numerous.

The tain (in green) over the B.C. wild fires at 1:47 p.m. -- B.C. Wildfire Service/Google Earth

Rain (green) over the B.C. wild fires at 1:47 p.m. — B.C. Wildfire Service/Google Earth

Nearly five hours later, the Doppler radar data shows that the largest concentration of rain has moved over an area east of Vancouver, towards the Alberta border, that is thick with wildfires. But still no precipitous love for the parched and scorched Prairie provinces.

bc-fire-by-region

According to the B.C. Wildfire Service, there are currently 82 notable wild fires actively burning across British Columbia, and a lot of media attention is now focused on the ferocious 8000 hectare fire burning at Puntzi Lake in the central Chilcotin area of the Cariboo region, about 700 kilometres north of Vancouver.

Closer to home, the 423 hectare fire at the Old Sechelt Mine, only 46 km to the northwest of Vancouver, has been burning now for over three weeks. It was chiefly smoke from that fire that blanketed Vancouver on Sunday, July 5.

Though it continues to burn, the Old Sechelt Mine fire was fully contained by July 16 — but not before it claimed the life of a 60-year-old tree faller, Johnny Phare, from Roberts Creek.

There are still some eight weeks of hot, dry summer weather to look forward to. Click the images to enlarge them.

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