Rain to alleviate Western Canada fires, but storms may spark new blazes
At least some portions of B.C. and Alberta are going to get a helping hand from Mother Nature this coming week, as a soaking rain is likely to subdue some of the wildfires.
However, while the rain from the storms is welcome, the threat of lightning is sparking new wildfire concerns. In fact, lightning strikes are responsible for hundreds of wildfires across Canada each year. They are the most common source for wildfire ignition in Canada, along with human activity.
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Forecasters are remaining hopeful as they watch for what looks to be a substantial break to the extreme heat and dry weather across Western Canada for the remainder of May, which should substantially help efforts to control the wildfires.
Visit The Weather Network's wildfire hub to keep up with the latest on the active start to wildfire season across Western Canada.
Areas: Eastern B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan
Timing: Early-morning thunderstorms are forecast across southeastern B.C. and southern Alberta, but activity becomes more widespread across central Alberta Monday afternoon. Thunderstorms bubble up along the trough in Saskatchewan, as well. By Monday evening, we’re watching some stronger storms from Montana move close to the international border. These storms may continue into eastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan well into the evening.
An upper-level trough pushing in will be responsible for cooler temperatures across B.C. and Alberta, but associated with it is a moisture-filled, low-pressure system that will bring significant rain to the Prairies over the coming week.
Rainfall forecast Monday to Wednesday
A long-duration rainfall event is setting up downwind of the Rockies. Rainfall warnings are in effect for parts of northeastern B.C. and northern Alberta.
The heaviest rainfall totals are forecast to fall in some sizable wildfires west of Edmonton, Alta., with regions near Grande Prairie expected to accumulate close to 100 mm by Wednesday.
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This rainfall substantially dampens Alberta wildfire activity, which is welcomed news, as the province is facing its worst wildfire season since 1981 in terms of area burned.
However, heavy rain over burn scars can create significant flooding risks. The burnt landscape can act as a water repellent, and the missing tree canopies increase the flooding threat as well. Mud and debris flows can also be a hazard with the recently burned landscape, even with a gently sloping terrain.
Continue monitoring news sources for the latest flood and mudslide threat updates and be prepared to take action if you are in a vulnerable area.
Also, keep checking back to The Weather Network for more forecast news and information across Western Canada.