(BC Wildfire Service/Twitter)

2017 second-worst B.C. wildfire season on record

BC Wildfire has spent $204 million fighting 491,000 hectares of fires

The 2017 wildfire season is now the second worst in B.C. since records began, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Since April 1, 491,000 hectares have burned across the province, sending this season over the 483,000 hectares burned in 1961. Only 1958 was even worse – 855,000 hectares burned that year.

As of Thursday afternoon, 126 fires were currently burning in B.C. Eight of those started on Wednesday, for a total of 861 fires in B.C. since April 1.

Firefighting efforts have cost the province $204 million to date.

Emergency Management BC executive director Chris Duffy said that 6,700 people remain under evacuation orders, while 24,800 are under evacuation alerts.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek called the past month “unprecedented” in terms of new fires, aggressive fire behaviour and hot conditions. In early July, the province saw more than 200 fires start in about 48 hours.

“We are only in early August at this point so this season is far from over,” said Skrepnek. “August is unfortunately typically one of our busiest months. This current situation could get worse before it gets better.”

RELATED: B.C. wildfire crews prepare for scorching August

The forecast still isn’t looking good, he said. Hot, dry and slightly windy conditions are expected to continue for the Cariboo and the southern parts of the province.

“Temperatures are expected to ease a little bit after today, but it’s still in the mid-30s for many parts of B.C.” he said.

More on controlled burn that went out of control

Skrepnek continued to take questions from reporters on his daily update about a controlled burn near 20 Mile Ranch and Clinton, near Cache Creek, going “horribly wrong,” as one resident put it.

He said controlled burns remain the best way to fight large, aggressive fires.

VIDEO: Clinton-area residents say controlled burn went ‘horribly wrong’

“This was an unfortunate turn of the weather,” said Skrepnek. “The fact that this happened is a bit of an aberration.”

He said acknowledged the back burn, which caused the fire to jump west over Hwy. 97, has increased the size of that fire.

“To be frank, this is an active fire,” he said. “If we hadn’t taken action, it likely would have gone into this area regardless.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Van fire sends plume of black smoke into sky above Willowbrook

Vehicle a charred shell in fire that slowed Friday commute home

Police investigate apparent impaired-driving crash

Incident took place in Abbotsford on Thursday night

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Langley Rotarians work for clinics in Kenya

Local Rotary Clubs are asking locals to think of others at Christmastime.

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Family Christmas fun at Aldergrove’s Loft Country farm

The Loft Country children’s horse camp in Aldergrove is celebrating Christmas in a new way this year

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

UPDATED: Train collides with car in Maple Ridge

Mother and child both uninjured, track cleared at 11 a.m.

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

VIDEO: Pedestrian struck by vehicle caught on security camera

Incident points to danger on the roads not only in low light but also in bright sunshine

Most Read