Chilliwack/Abbotsford (With files from CBC) – The no-brainer for anyone in the Valley. It’s just the subject no one wants to talk about but the consequences this year could be problematic.
Hot and dry temperatures in B.C.’s Fraser Valley have some residents fearing there will be a drought this summer.
Snowpack levels are well below average and there has been hardly any rain over the last two weeks.
“I’m seeing a lot of brown lawns and people irrigating their fields, which is quite unusual for this time of year,” said Chilliwack city councillor and poultry farmer Chris Kloot.
“Farmers irrigating corn is a familiar sight in July or August, but we’re seeing it in the second week of June.”
Chilliwack’s water levels aren’t cause for concern yet, but Mayor Sharon Gaetz says it’s strange to see Mt. Cheam with so little snow at this time of year.
“I’ve lived in the city of Chilliwack all of my life and generally speaking, I’ve looked at Mt. Cheam in August and seen more snow than I see on it now,” Gaetz said.
“It’s a little bit startling to see the difference.”
Local strawberries are already being sold at roadside stands in the Fraser Valley, and raspberries and blueberries won’t be far behind.
Other crops, like lettuce and kale, are struggling in the summer-like conditions.
“I’d like a little bit of rain to cool things down because some things are really, really stressed,” said Yolanda Versterre who co-owns Shalefield Organic Gardens in the Columbia Valley near Cultus Lake.
“The topsoil is really crusty and dry. As a market gardener, you have your succession crops, so every two or three weeks you have to plant. In this weather, it’s kind of hard.”
The heat is also having an impact on other types of farms in the region.
Even Kloot’s chicken farm has been affected.
“As you grow your birds for market and they get bigger, and you have a lot of heat, it’s a challenge to keep your barns at an ideal temperature,” Kloot said.
Kloot says farmers in would love to see some rain in the weather forecast