Adrienne Hemmons

Hot, hot, hot in northwestern B.C. this summer

Area is going through its third heat wave since early July

Terrace has experienced an unusually hot summer this year with at least three heat waves with temperatures maxing at 33º Celsius so far.

Forest service fire information officer Olivia Pojar recognized that this summer has been a hot one and noted that it’s been an especially dry season.

“There hasn’t been a whole lot of precipitation, especially in the Northwest, but that dryness has helped dry out the forest fuel and a result of that is that we’re seeing extreme fire behaviours because there is so much more fuel available for that fire to burn,” she said.

The dry heat this summer has brought has sucked the moisture out of the green vegetation as well as any plant matter on the forest floor, such as fallen logs, making it easier for them to ignite.

Although the total of number of fires this season is at 1,118 and well below the ten year average of 1,367, Pojar said it’s still too early to determine whether the hot weather has a correlation with the flames.

“It’s definitely been hot,” she said, something anyone who has been outside can probably agree with.

July alone felt a heat wave that lasted longer than any felt last year. A five-day stretch on the week of the 11th had Terracites fleeing to the beach to cool down.

Meanwhile, last summer only witnessed one four-day heat wave, but temperatures never exceeded 33 degrees.

The first few days of August also hit the 30s giving those who checked out Riverboat Days some well earned sunburns.

Now, temperatures are expected to stay in the high 20s and low 30s for the next few days making this week the third—but likely not the last—of the heat this season.

Terrace has seen hotter days, in fact, in 2009 the mercury hit 36.5º C—it hasn’t been that hot since 1971. And the day before was even hotter with 37.1 degrees, which missed the record temperature by .1 of a degree, according to the Weather Network. This hot spell was felt across the province and it cooked Penticton up to an unbearable 40º Celsius.

The best advice for surviving this heat is invest in a fan, wear loads of sunscreen—and remember to reapply—throw a hat on, long sleeves, seek shade, stay hydrated and don’t complain too much because in only a matter of weeks the frosty nip of winter will show itself once again.