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Warmer weather a mixed blessing on wildfire front

Daily highs in the upper 20s but lows around 10 C
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The B.C. Wildfire Service's weather-related luck in this part of the province is coming to an end.

After more than a week of showers veering into heavy rain, a clear and sunny sky with daily highs in the upper 20s is in the forecast through to the end of next weekend.

Any concern about lightning-caused fires will be replaced with worry about person-sparked blazes igniting and getting out of hand in the hotter, drier climate.

"It's definitely going to mean a lot more resources on standby. We're just going to have to be on watch more," said Hannah Harris, BCWS spokesperson for the Prince George Fire Centre on Monday. 

Harris urged the public to continue to be careful when in the backcountry and added a ban on campfires remains in place.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist said the region received four to six millimetres of rain on a daily basis since July 20. How much rain fell in the downpour on Monday morning was not immediately available.

Looking ahead, Lundquist fell short of saying the warm weather will be due to a so-called heat dome, limiting his description to a ridge of high pressure building up from the northwest United States.

"It's not what we saw at the end of June, not even close," Lundquist said. "It might be cool enough overnight there that we won't have to put out a heat warning because it's the overnight temperatures that matter more than anything. If you can cool off at night, you can get proper rest and sleep."

Overnight lows are forecast to hover around 10 C.

If only the rest of the province could be so lucky as Environment Canada has begun to issue heat warnings for other parts of the province, Lunquist noted.

If there is a concern for the Prince George area, Lunquist said it's that smoke from the fires to the south may accompany the weather pattern as it works its way north.

The wet weather has left its mark.

On Friday, evacuation orders related to the Grizzly Lake and Purdy Lake wildfires southwest of Prince George while one for the Mount Porter fire west of Williston Lake was replaced with an expanded evacuation alert on Thursday.

An evacuation order for the Camsell Lake wildfire south of Stuart Lake and west of Fort St. James was rescinded on Friday and the blaze is no longer considered a wildfire of note.

An area around the Grizzly Lake wildfire remains out of bounds for non-residents due to an area restriction put in place by the BCWS and an evacuation alert for the Cutoff Creek wildfire to the west is still in place.

As of Monday morning, Cutoff Creek (21,500 hectares) and Grizzly Lake (4,891 ha) were listed as being held, Purdy Lake (8,000 ha) as active. Mount Porter (13,659 ha) remained listed as out of control as of Sunday.