Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Late-season wildfire smoke (and risk), as Victoria hits record for 20° October days

Record-setting Island drought could cause problems even after it ends

By Cameron Welch
October 17, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Late-season wildfire smoke (and risk), as Victoria hits record for 20° October days

Record-setting Island drought could cause problems even after it ends

By Cameron Welch
Oct 17, 2022
Finlayson Arm burns in early October. Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Finlayson Arm burns in early October. Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Late-season wildfire smoke (and risk), as Victoria hits record for 20° October days

Record-setting Island drought could cause problems even after it ends

By Cameron Welch
October 17, 2022
Get the news and events in Victoria, in your inbox every morning.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Late-season wildfire smoke (and risk), as Victoria hits record for 20° October days
Finlayson Arm burns in early October. Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

As smoke moved in on Sunday, turning skies hazy, Environment Canada issued a special advisory for regions throughout the island warning of 24-48 hours of wildfire smoke and the associated health risks. On Sunday the Air Quality Health Index was at a 7 (the threshold for High Risk) and for Monday and Tuesday it is projected at 4 overall but 7 for smoke risk.

The smoke arrived as major fires continue to burn in Washington and Oregon, and in southern mainland BC. FireSmoke.ca shows the resulting haze blowing west and north onto the Island Sunday and Monday, but lessening and likely not extending as far up the Island Tuesday or Wednesday.

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

Where there’s smoke, and there’s fire risk

The Island currently has 14 wildfires of its own burning—mainly in the middle and northern interior, and clustered around extra-hot Port Alberni. The dry conditions are currently listed at the highest levels: Drought Level 5 all over the Island, and fire danger level Extreme for all but the upper section of the Island.

Saanich announced last week that open burning in rural areas will not be allowed to begin on Oct. 16 as it typically would be, and that fireworks and bonfires may not end up being allowed on Oct. 31. So far, there has been one notable Greater Victoria wildfire in October: the one at Finlayson Arm two weeks ago.

Heat sets more records

On Sunday, the temperature climbed to 24C in much of Greater Victoria. This month has now hit 20C nine times at the Gonzales measuring station and 11 times at the airport one, based on numbers from YYJ Weather Records. This year has now entered the top 10 for total days of the year reaching 20C at the airport, with 97 (just behind 2021’s 98 days). Sunday was also one of the warmest October days on record for both Victoria stations, and the latest in the year that the airport has ever recorded 23C. 

Victoria Gonzales is also in the midst of its longest-ever stretch with under 1mm of precipitation, at 90 days that began July 19. That’s expected to end later this week, with rain projected to fall in Greater Victoria by the weekend.

End of drought could bring its own risks

Earlier this month, Capital Daily covered a few of the downsides of this seemingly lovely weather. Dangers include the current effects of drought on trees and salmon, but also risks when rainstorms do arrive. Brittle trees may fall more easily in the wind—leading to damage and power outages—and dry soil may fail to absorb enough rain—leading to flooding.

The province has announced it has readied response materials such as sandbags and other water blockers, and has asked residents to be prepared for flooding, but says that extreme flooding on par with that seen in the 2021 atmospheric rivers is not expected. The Fraser Valley Current recently broke down the decades of Canadian and US political decisions that contributed to some of the devastating 2021 flooding—and that are still creating risk.

Article Author's Profile Picture
Cameron Welch
Newsletter Editor
TWITTER:

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

Related News

Indigenous learning program brings reconciliation to a local level
Stay connected to your city with the Capital Daily newsletter.
By filling out the form above, you agree to receive emails from Capital Daily. You can unsubscribe at any time.