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As storm season arrives, prepare for power outages, BC Hydro warns

Fire ban ending on Friday amidst rainfall

By Jolene Rudisuela
October 27, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

As storm season arrives, prepare for power outages, BC Hydro warns

Fire ban ending on Friday amidst rainfall

Crews clean up trees that took out a power line on the Island in May. Source: BC Hydro
Crews clean up trees that took out a power line on the Island in May. Source: BC Hydro
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

As storm season arrives, prepare for power outages, BC Hydro warns

Fire ban ending on Friday amidst rainfall

By Jolene Rudisuela
October 27, 2022
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As storm season arrives, prepare for power outages, BC Hydro warns
Crews clean up trees that took out a power line on the Island in May. Source: BC Hydro

BC’s drought, coupled with years of back-to-back extreme weather events, has weakened trees all across the south coast, greatly increasing the likelihood of them falling into power lines during heavy winds, according to BC Hydro.

Vancouver Island is in line for its first big storms of the season over the next few days, bringing rain and wind to the coast.

Alyssa Charbonneau, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said two systems of heavy precipitation are expected to arrive in the region between now and Sunday. Victoria is expected to get about 20mm of rain in that time, with winds gusting up to 60km/h. The west coast of the Island, especially over the mountains, will receive the brunt of the precipitation, with up to 100mm of rain falling.

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BC Hydro says it works to mitigate the effects of vegetation falling on power lines throughout the year, but even still, more than half of all power outages in BC are caused by trees and bad weather—the single greatest cause of power outages. Last year was a quieter than normal storm season, and this season could cause more damage than the last because of the “healthy stock of wind-vulnerable trees.” 

BC Hydro recommends that everyone should be prepared for the likelihood of a power outage by having an emergency kit including a flashlight, batteries, first-aid kit, bottled water, and non-perishable food.

Ahead of the storms, the province also put out a statement on Tuesday warning that an atmospheric river following a drought can cause flooding, but Charbonneau says the precipitation in the past week has likely moistened the ground enough to mitigate any major flooding.

“It’s probably more likely to cause localized impacts in terms of the rain pooling rather than major flooding concerns,” she said. 

So far this month, Victoria International Airport has recorded 13.9mm of rain; Victoria Gonzalez station has had 15.6mm. The recent rain has knocked this month out of the running for Victoria’s driest October on record, but we’re still far below average. In a normal October, the region sees about 88mm of rain. 

Victoria’s dry fall has delayed salmon trying to spawn, and could have adverse effects on trees, Capital Daily reported earlier this month

Fire ban ending

All this rain has meant that the Coastal Fire Centre is ending the current fire ban as planned, on Friday at noon.

Category 2 and Category 3 open fires—including backyard burning, industrial burning, and fireworks—have been banned since mid-July. The campfire ban was lifted in late September.

Julia Caranci, communications assistant with the Coastal Fire Centre, said the rain that has fallen and is forecasted has been enough to reduce the fire danger risk. The current fire danger rating is at low, down from extreme earlier this month. 

Caranci added that it’s not unusual to have a fire ban run this late into the year. Since 2003, the category 2 and 3 fire ban has stayed in place until mid to late October eight times. 

Despite the lifting of the fire ban, multiple Halloween bonfires around the region still aren’t happening. As Capital Daily reported last week, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, Esquimalt, Highlands, and Metchosin have each already cancelled their annual events. 

North Saanich and Colwood, which were previously undecided, have not yet announced whether they are holding their Halloween bonfires with the end of the fire ban. 

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