KAMLOOPS (NEWS1130) – In BC’s Southern Interior back in 2003 and 2009, we saw devastation and evacuations due to wildfires.

Right now, there isn’t a lot of fire activity in places like Kamloops and Kelowna, but that could change over the summer and for the next 40 seasons.

BC averaged about 2,000 forest fires per year between 2000 and 2010; there are fears the forest fire situation is going to get a lot worse due to climate change.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has released a new study entitled “Telling the Weather Story: Can Canada Manage the Storms Ahead?” It predicts a huge jump in the number of fires into 2050 in this province.

Dr. Gordon McBean authored the study from Western University in London, Ontario. He tells us we could see at least a 50 per cent increase because of climate change.

“Geographically, the interior regions will have much hotter summers. The concern about wildfires is of major interest to us, particularly in BC, as example in the interior regions, which are expected to see… 50 to 100 per cent increases by mid century,” he explains.

The study forecasts warmer temperatures in some BC regions around the province, lower mountain snowpack levels, and drier summers. That could be a recipe for disaster.

“Our forest eco-systems are becoming vulnerable; they like their old climate, so they are more susceptible. When you do get a lightning strike or someone making a mistake with a match, you are more likely to have fires, ” points out McBean
 
Lightning-caused starts, which is already at about 60 per cent, is also expected to rise, thanks to climate change.