Cattle walk through burned-out forest area along Highway 20 west of Williams Lake. (Coast Mountain News)

2017 now worst wildfire season in B.C.

Total area burned approaching 9,000 square km across the province

The 2017 B.C. wildfire season has surpassed the record for area burned set in 1958, wildfire officials say.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said in his daily update call Wednesday that the latest estimate is mostly as a result of mapping work, and is subject to change.

EARLIER: B.C. Wildfire season approaching 2009 record

“And of course we’re only halfway through August, so we expect that to increase,” Skrepnek said. “One silver lining to the weather that we’re seeing right now is that we’re not expecting the return of that massive high pressure … with high temperatures.”

But with no rain expected for southern B.C. and winds expected to pick up towards this weekend, he said it is likely the area burned will continue to increase at least in the short term.

To compound the dry conditions, Williams Lake RCMP had four youths in custody Wednesday, suspected of setting multiple fires in the Lexington subdivision of the city. The arrests came as Williams Lake’s evacuation alert was lifted after weeks of stand-by and an evacuation of the community.

RELATED: RCMP determine Lexington Road fire is caused by arson

Alexis Creek RCMP are also investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed a mobile home 40 km west of the community. The fire did not spread beyond the residence.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said the federal and provincial governments are working on a compensation program for farmers and ranchers affected by the fire. The program is to assist with damage to farm operations and loss of grazing land as fires have swept across the ranching territory of the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

RELATED: Financial support offered to fire-affected businesses

“We felt it was extremely important to let farmers and ranchers know that this is underway, to give them some peace of mind,” Popham said.

Just Posted

Excel Martial Arts raises more than $5,000 for family of Chilliwack man killed in workplace accident

By-donation fundraiser event helps wife, three children of 28-year-old Nathan Appleton of Chilliwack

Chilliwack Lions Club has a new place to call home

After more than five years without a headquarters, Chilliwack Lions Club moves into new hall

Sardis Falcons top Heritage Woods in field lacrosse opener

The Falcons rallied from a halftime hole to take a big win on the road in Port Moody.

Chilliwack prolific offender charged in four alleged incidents in 12 days

Branden Tanner busted for alleged smash-and-grab Nov. 30, then incidents Dec. 3, Dec. 8 and Dec. 11

Four companies vying to open cannabis stores in locations across Chilliwack

Rezoning applications for non-medical cannabis outlets pending, and some will require variances

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Most Read