British Columbia

Lightning could spark wildfires in B.C. Interior Friday afternoon

A cold front forecast to cross the Interior Friday evening could raise the risk of lightning strikes, which could spark wildfire.

Risk of lightning throughout the Prince George, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres

A wildfire that started early Thursday afternoon was burning on the north side of the Thompson River just east of Kamloops. (Environment Canada/Twitter)

A cold and windy weather system forecast to cross B.C.'s Interior Friday evening could raise the risk of wildfires later today.

"There is a risk of lightning throughout the Prince George, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres … and a good chance that it will be dry lightning if it does occur," Fire Information Office Claire Allen said Friday morning.

"It's very possible that we will see some lightning-caused wildfires pop up, so we do have all hands on deck ready to respond."

In addition to the lightning, Environment Canada is warning strong winds are expected ahead of the cold front.

"Southwest winds will gust to near 50 km/h this afternoon in the Okanagan and Nicola regions. Stronger northwesterly winds with gusts up to 70 km/h are anticipated once the front passes this evening," said the alert.

And with hot, dry weather in the forecast for the coming week, there will be little relief in sight if fires do break out, she said.

Kamloops fire still burning

Meanwhile, a fire that broke out Thursday on the north side of the Thompson River east of Kamloops grew to about 500 hectares overnight, but is not threatening any homes.

"I can see it from my window and it is putting out a bit of smoke still, but not the same smoke column we could see yesterday," Allen said from her Kamloops office early Friday morning.

More than 100 firefighters and several helicopters and air tankers continued to fight the fire on Friday.

The fire led to the evacuation of some homes on the Tk'emlúps Reserve. The residents were able to return to their homes Thursday evening.

It also triggered a smoky skies bulletin from Environment Canada.

The fire danger rating for much of B.C. is expected to climb in the coming days as hot, dry weather settles in for the coming week. (BC Wildfire Service)