Smoke billows from a wildfire near Clinton. (Tammy Fisher/Facebook)

2017 the third-worst B.C. wildfire season

426,000 hectares have burned since April 1

There have been 820 fires across B.C. since April 1, according to the BC Wildfire service.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek reported that 13 new fires started Saturday, with 150 currently burning across the province as of 1 p.m. Sunday. Firefighting costs for the 426,000 hectares that have burned this fire season have hit $172.5 million. There are close to 4,000 personnel working across the province as part of the firefighting effort. Of those, 750 are out of province and 1,500 are contractors. The ground crews are supported by 200 aircraft.

RELATED: Justin Trudeau to visit Williams Lake

Although it started slow, 2017 is shaping up to be a fire season for the history books, Skrepnek said. While the number of fires is not unusual, he noted, the sheer amount of hectares burned is.

“That is the third most area burned we’ve ever had in this province’s history,” said Skrepnek. “You’d have to look back till 1961 [when] we had 483,000 hectares burned and then in 1958 we had 855,000 hectares of land burned.”

Those figures are season totals, he noted – leaving plenty of time for 2017 to overtake them.

It’s not expected to get any better – there is no rain expected in the foreseeable future.

VIDEO: Kamloops boater tries to douse wildfire

“We are expecting a fairly dramatic increase in temperatures, potentially reaching 40 degrees [Celsius] in parts of the central and southern interior by next week,” said Skrepnek. “That’s definitely a concern for us.”

The province will get a reprieve from the lightning that has caused many wildfires this summer.

“Any fires are going to be the result of human activity,” said Skrepnek.

RELATED: Smoke in Southern Interior from U.S. wildfires

Windy conditions have made for smoky skies across B.C. and embers blowing across the Bonaparte River caused the 70,387 hectare fire to jump the river. The Village of Clinton was put on evacuation order on Saturday. As of Sunday afternoon, the fire is 30 per cent contained.

“This is going to continue to be a real beast of a fire,” said Skrepnek.

RELATED: Evacuation order issued for village of Clinton, north to Green Lake

There is good news on the wildfire front; the Martin Mountain fire is 90 per cent contained, Skrepnek said. BC Wildfire Service believes that the fire is human-caused but has yet to determine a specific cause.

“The fire is still holding at about 150 hectares in size,” he said. “This fire had a lot of potential to take off… it had a lot of fuel at the head of the fire: an almost uninterrupted sea of timber.”

Emergency Management BC deputy minister Robert Turner said that there are 6,000 wildfire evacuees as of Sunday but that those numbers don’t yet reflect Clinton evacuees.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Warming centre location in Chilliwack sought

Last year they opened a warming centre in a Chilliwack church but they need a new venue now

External audit called for following claims too much gravel removed from Chilliwack river

Flood protection is something Chilliwack takes very seriously, says mayor

Chilliwack ID thief rearrested two weeks into conditional sentence order

Gregory Cromarty charged with breach after claiming ‘rehabilitative moment’ at Nov. 28 sentencing

Fraser Valley Thunderbirds take two from Greater Vancouver Canadians

The B.C. Hockey Major Midget Hockey League team sits in third place overall after 20 games

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from Chilliwack homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week with a third on First Nation land set to be dismantled this week

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Greater Vancouver house prices expected to rise five per cent in 2018

Strict incoming mortgage rules will slow growth for first half of 2018

5 to start your day

Large drug bust in Abbotsford, a look at sexual harassment in the workplace and more

Four-month-old baby girl stabbed in Toronto

The baby, a man and a woman in serious condition

Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

What were Canadians were curious about: Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

Democrat wins stunning red-state Alabama Senate upset

Democrat Doug Jones wins stunning red-state Alabama Senate upset against Roy Moore

Police appeal for info after girl, 11, hit in New Westminster crosswalk

Child was left with non-life threatening injuries

Horgan says pot smokers may face same outdoor rules as cigarette smokers

B.C. is developing its rules on recreational marijuana

B.C. teacher suspended after explicit images projected to class

Jeffrey Rohin Muthanna had been viewing porn on a school laptop for two years

Most Read