Fire bombers attack a fire near Springhouse, south west of Williams Lake. It was one of nine new fires to start in the Cariboo Fire Centre on June 20, and one of 50 across the province. Monika Petersen photo.

50 new fires sparked in B.C. after lightning strikes across province

Similar conditions seen at the beginning of 2017 wildfire season

Residents of British Columbia’s Interior are feeling anxious after multiple lightning storms have rolled across the area following a heat wave.

At least 50 new fires have sparked across the province today, said the B.C. Wildfire Service.

Similar conditions, on July 7 in 2017, started a number of fires that burned throughout the summer, leading to the worst fire season in the province’s history.

Read more: 2017 worst wildfire season in B.C.

“Keep in mind this number is fluid right now, and is subject to change — and is probably higher — so far today we have responded to 50 new wildfires, at least half of which we believe to be lightning caused,” said Ryan Turcot, a fire information officer with the BC Wildfire service.

The causes for the remaining fires have yet to be determined, though Turcot said many are likely also due to lightning.

The storms come after four or five days of record-breaking temperatures.

Read more: 30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The largest fire at the moment is 15 kilometres west of Burns Lake. It’s a 90 hectare fire that the BC Wildfire Service said is burning aggressively and is very visible from nearby communities and Highway 16.

“Certainly this is an evolving situation right now and we may see continued fire starts and potentially more fire activities. At this point it is certainly an evolving situation and we will keep the public informed as more information becomes available,” said Turcot.

Fire starts on June 20 by fire centre:

Coastal Fire Centre: Eight new fires

Northwest Fire Centre: Eight new fires

Prince George Fire Centre: 15 new fires

Kamloops Fire Centre: 10 new fires

Cariboo Fire Centre: Nine new fires

Read more: Lightning sparks handful of fires in Cariboo region

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