Wildfire centre flooded with calls as lightning sparks flames across B.C.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says lightning strikes are building off a significant heatwave over the past few days. The heat has also dried out forest fuels, which, combined with increased winds and low humidity, makes for optimum wildfire conditions.

Hot, dry conditions due to heat wave have created optimum conditions for fires

Lightning struck a hillside near Peachland on Tuesday evening as the storm passed through the Okanagan. (April Loewen)

A lightning storm swept across the southern Interior overnight, sparking dozens of small wildfires on Tuesday night.

The B.C. Wildfire Service website shows the fires were sparked along the length of the Okanagan Valley and all the way north to the Williams Lake and Prince George areas.

One of those fires, northwest of Vanderhoof, prompted the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako to issue an evacuation alert for rural properties in the area on Wednesday.

At least 41 new fires were reported and more could be identified Wednesday morning as crews get a better look, said fire information officer Clare Allen.

Air crews work to put out a wildfire near Penticton, B.C. (Penticton Fire Department/Twitter)

"It's certainly a busy evening for the wildfire service," said Allen on Tuesday night.

"We really appreciate that folks have been patient waiting on the line in order to report what they're witnessing."

Lightning also hit an apartment building in West Kelowna at around 8 p.m. PT Tuesday, frightening residents and damaging the roof, but not causing any injuries.

More lightning in the forecast

Most of the fires were likely caused by dry lighting and the storm conditions that cause it are brewing again, she warned.

"It's still looking like we might have some challenging weather ahead of us," Allen said on Wednesday morning.

Allen said the lightning strikes are building off a significant heatwave over the past few days.

The heat has also dried out forest fuels, which, combined with increased winds and low humidity, makes for optimum wildfire conditions.

A campfire ban for the coastal region starts today but if the hot, dry weather continues one could be coming soon for the whole province, Allen said.

Allen is urging people to be extra cautious outdoors so they don't they don't accidentally cause more fires.

Read more from CBC British Columbia

With files from the Canadian Press