Not a drop of rain was recorded at Vancouver and Victoria airports during July, the first time that has happened since Environment Canada began keeping rainfall records in 1937.
Much of the rest of B.C. also had an unusually dry month, with numerous local records falling. Williams Lake airport recorded 1.6 mm of rain during the entire month, while communities in the northwest had only occasional showers.
The Kootenay region got a taste of the torrential rains that caused flooding across the region and southern Alberta in June. Nelson was hit with a downpour on July 17 that briefly flooded streets. Chilliwack recorded 2 mm of rain the same day, its only precipitation in a farming region that sees 44 mm in an average July.
Provincial bans on all open burning including campfires took effect Thursday in the Kamloops and Coastal fire districts, covering most of southern and central B.C. The ban covers coastal areas except Haida Gwaii and the designated “fog zone” along the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Fire bans apply to open fires of any size, including those with permits, as well as industrial burning, fireworks, tiki torches and burn barrels. Camp stoves that use propane or briquettes are still allowed.
The ban took effect as rain showers were forecast for many areas of B.C. The B.C. government’s wildfire management branch is preparing for lightning storms expected over the next week in the coastal region.
Provincial fire restrictions cover all private and Crown land, including parks, but not within the boundaries of local governments that have fire departments, which establish local restrictions.