Large Wildfires Create ‘Mini-Weather Patterns of Their Own’
Williams Lake, B.C. – As if forecasting the weather isn’t difficult enough, try throwing a raging wildfire into the mix.
Noella Kekula, a fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, says large wildfires commonly take on weather patterns of their own.
“Yes, they just start creating their own wind and it just builds. It’s pretty fascinating to watch. It does happen in addition to the other weather,” she tells 250News.
“We have an incident management team that is managing this area of command and we have a fire behavioural specialist on our team and that is what she does – she just looks at the weather for all of the fires we are managing.”
Kekula says it makes predicting what the weather will do in such situations “incredibly difficult.”
“We’ve got all the weather and dry conditions with very little precipitation. So, the weather is unpredictable and in such large areas you could have different mini-cells come in in different parts of one fire.”
But BC’s chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek says it would take a pretty large wildfire before it affected the overall weather pattern.
“A fire would have to be more in the neighbourhood of 50 thousand hectares,100 thousand hectares where it can actually start affecting the greater weather pattern around it. In the case of what we have so far, we haven’t experienced that yet.”
Looking ahead, Alyssa Charbonneau, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, notes she doesn’t see much relief in sight.
“Unfortunately, what we see in terms of heavy rain is coming for the North and into the Yukon. I don’t really see anything in terms of a really good soaking rain headed for the regions that need it the most in our extended forecast right now.”