Temperatures to soar above 30 C in parts of B.C. this weekend

Temperatures could climb above 30 C in some parts of B.C.'s Interior this weekend. (Winston Szeto/CBC - image credit)
Temperatures could climb above 30 C in some parts of B.C.'s Interior this weekend. (Winston Szeto/CBC - image credit)

Time to bust out the sunscreen and a wide-brim hat.

Environment Canada meteorologist Ken Dosanjh said while last week brought cool, standard spring conditions, temperatures are expected to soar across the province in coming days, reaching above 30 C in some parts of the Interior.

Environment Canada is forecasting sunny days and warmer nights through Monday, when things are expected to cloud over and cool off.

A high of 32 C is forecast for Kamloops on Saturday, which is about 12 C above normal and would break a daily heat record stretching back to 1971.

Communities including Kelowna, Penticton, Clearwater, Lillooet and Cache Creek could also see highs above 30 C.

Prince George is looking at highs of 26 C on Friday, more than 10 C above the seasonal average, according to Environment Canada.

It'll be cooler on the South Coast, with temperatures of 21 C forecast for Vancouver on Saturday, climbing to 27 C further inland.

While it may seem tempting to go for a quick dip in a lake or river to cool off, Dosanjh is reminding British Columbians that bodies of water are still cold, and there is a risk of hypothermia for people exposed to cold for a long time.

Dosanjh said this time last year temperatures were well above average, which contributed to early wildfire activity.

"While this weekend definitely will be warming above seasonal, so far it's not packing the same punch as compared to May 2023," he said.

Wildfire risk

Nevertheless, the spike in temperatures comes as many parts of the province continue to deal with drought conditions, which forecasters worry could mean a long, challenging wildfire season.

Open burning bans are in effect for much of the province. And as camping season kicks off, officials are reminding campers to be cautious when it comes to campfires.

On Thursday, Minister of Forests Bruce Ralston said the heat over the weekend could lead to an increase in wildfires.

Ralston said the northeast, particularly around Fort Nelson, is most at risk because of high temperatures and wind. The vast majority of wildfires burning in B.C. right now are in the Prince George Fire Centre, which comprises the province's northeastern quarter.

He said additional firefighting resources are being sent to the region to assist existing crews should new fires begin.

Minister of Emergency Management Bowinn Ma is asking residents in the Fort Nelson area to be prepared for evacuation orders or alerts, and to pay attention to conditions through the weekend.

The B.C. River Forecast Centre is scheduled to release its latest snowpack information on Thursday.