NEWS
07/15/2015 17:05 EDT | Updated 07/15/2016 01:12 EDT

B.C. upgrades drought status to max level for Lower Fraser, south coast

VANCOUVER — A record-low snow pack, paltry rainfall, and soaring temperatures have pushed British Columbia's most heavily populated region to the highest alert level on the province's drought scale.

The provincial government says the Lower Fraser and south coast areas have been upgraded to drought level four.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson says conditions are likely to become even drier before the weekend.

Thomson says that if the situation worsens the province may temporarily suspend water usage and water licences in affected watersheds, though so far no regulations have been introduced.

Low flow and water temperatures peaking at 25 C have led the government to impose fishing restrictions on nearly 100 rivers across the province, mostly on southern Vancouver Island, the Kootenays and the Okanagan.

The number of wildfires burning in the province has dipped to 175 though a campfire ban remains in place across B.C., with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the fog zone.

The Canadian Press