(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

MOST READ: Surrey RCMP are looking for 47-year-old Audra Jager

Reports say she is easily confused and disoriented because of previous head injury.

Hawthorne Park decision could come from Surrey City Council tonight

Failed petition will be presented to municipal politicians

Information flows following White Rock’s water-utility-price agreement

Critics ‘have egg on their face’ following announcement, says mayor

Former Langley roadbuilder faces fraud sentencing

A judge will weigh the fate of Matthew Brooks, who pleaded guilty to a $6 million fraud.

Delta staff to review ice arena refrigeration systems

Safety check comes after an ammonia leak killed three people at Fernie Memorial Arena on Oct. 17

WATCH: Speedskaters race at Langley Sportsplex

The first big local meeting of the season drew 105 skaters.

B.C. NDP convention set for Victoria

Premier, federal leader Jagmeet Singh to add energy

Silver Creek farm search expands north

RCMP were seen collecting evidence three kilometres north of the farm where human remains were found

Surrey francophone group marks 30th anniversary with concert, exhibit

Montreal-based jazz singer Florence K will perform at Surrey City Hall theatre

Development cost charges could triple in parts of Metro Vancouver under new proposal

Utilities commission chair says rates aren’t keeping up with growth

Ferries re-routed due to fluid spill at Nanaimo’s Duke Point

At least one sailing from Tsawwassen to Duke Point was redirected to Departure Bay

‘Angels’ help save life of Langley senior

Wilf Driedger believes he wouldn’t be here today if not for the quick action of two strangers

Chilliwack homeless camp dismantled on Monday

Mostly co-operative group emerged from the woods with possessions and dispersed

Most Read