The Wood Lake fire near Harrison Lake was estimated at 1

Drought takes toll on B.C. rivers, land

Fraser River continues to warm, and stage four drought restrictions have been extended to the Okanagan

Water use restrictions, inland fishing closures and a close watch on the warming Fraser River continue as drought conditions extend into a fourth month in B.C.

The Fraser River discharge at Hope measured 31 per cent lower than normal Aug. 10, with the temperature at 19.2 C, one degree higher than average. The Canada-U.S. Fraser River Panel projected a temperature of 20.4 by Aug. 16, with all commercial salmon fishing closed in Canadian waters regulated by the panel.

The B.C. government extended stage four drought restrictions to the Okanagan region, allowing local officials to suspend water licences depending on stream conditions. The South Thompson, Similkameen, Kettle and Skagit, South Coast and Vancouver Island regions are also at stage four.

Low stream flow advisories are in effect for those areas and the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

The forests ministry extended its stream fishing ban this week on the Okanagan River mainstem between Okanagan and Osoyoos Lakes.

The Kootenay and East Kootenay regions have been declared at level three drought, with voluntary use restrictions of 30 per cent below normal use for municipal, agricultural and industrial water users.

Coastal regions have had some relief with rain and cooler temperatures that have reduced the forest fire danger rating to low for much of western B.C. A campfire ban was lifted Wednesday for northern Vancouver Island, and open fires are also permitted in the northwest and Prince George regions.

B.C.’s most active fires and new fires continue in the southern coastal region, including the Wood Lake fire near Harrison Lake, the Elaho and Boulder Creek fires near Pemberton, and the Cougar Creek fire west of Merritt.

BC Hydro has also asked customers to reduce electricity use to maintain reservoir levels as dry weather continued in most of the province.