A 'fire tornado' erupts from the Chelaslie River fire in west central B.C.

Updated: 2014 wildfire season now ranks sixth for most area burned

No homes lost in B.C. fire season but 338,000 hectares burned now exceeds 2010 tally (WITH INFOGRAPHIC)

This summer’s wildfire season is going down as one of the most destructive on record in B.C.

As of Sept.5 , fires had burned up more than 338,000 hectares across the province, surpassing the 337,000 hectares destroyed in the 2010 fire season.

This year is still far short of 1958, when 856,000 hectares burned, but 2014 now ranks sixth by that measure and could move into fifth place if it surpasses 1950’s 343,339 hectares, or even third if it tops the 351,000 lost in 1971.

While much timber has burned, no homes or other significant structures have been lost this year, so by that measure it’s been nowhere near as catastrophic as the 2003 fire season, when more than 300 homes were lost or damaged in the Okanagan Mountain and McClure fires.

But it has been costly.

The province has so far spent more than $266 million fighting wildfires, more than four times what was budgeted, and more than the $212 million expended in 2010.

Despite wet weather on the Labour Day weekend, fire officials are bracing for more warm dry spells in September.

“It’s unlikely we’ve seen the end of the fire season by any stretch of the imagination,” fire information officer Dustin Eno said.

The actual number of fires this year – more than 1,330 – is well below the average of 1,600 a year.

But many of the fires have been very large.

The biggest, and now 65 per cent contained, is the 133,000-hectare Chelaslie River fire, which is between Anahim Lake and Burns Lake, near Entiako and Tweedsmuir provincial parks. An evacuation order continues for owners of cabin in Entiako Provincial Park.

The largest evacuations this summer have included the China Nose fire near Houston and the McAllister fire, which forced the evacuation of the entire town of Hudson’s Hope in July.

Assisting B.C. crews have been large numbers of imported firefighters and equipment, from other provinces, Alaska and Australia.

“We’ve brought in a lot and have been very grateful to be able to draw on those relationships, both right across Canada and internationally,” Eno said.

“Last year we exported a lot of firefighters to fight in other jurisdictions and this year they were able to return that favour.”

BC fire season stats | Create Infographics

Just Posted

Book launch for Being Ts’elxwéyeqw is going ahead tonight

Sto:lo Research Centre is hosting the event, which was rescheduled and going ahead despite the snow

Downtown dispensary raided in Chilliwack

Police execute search warrant Wednesday, seizing pot, edibles, oils, cash, business records and more

Heavy snow closes UFV campuses in Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Limited access to universities after 3 p.m. on Friday

UPDATE: At least two hospitalized after plane leaves runway at Abbotsford Airport

Incident occurred around noon on Friday; Transport Canada investigating

Column: BCHL playoff picture still fuzzy

Heading into the final weekend of action, several teams can still move up or down the standings.

WATCH: Modular shelter buildings in Chilliwack hoisted into place

Still weeks from opening but 48 shelter spaces are being created with the modular units

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Guards hold noon-hour protest over prison safety

Number of inmates, attacks on officers, increasing says union

Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Tina Fontaine was pulled from a river in 2014, her body wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks

Maritimes want their own CFL team

Their biggest hurdle is getting a stadium commitment in place

Heavy snow leads to school closures in Greater Vancouver

UBC remains open, but others have cancelled classes and exams

Sask. school shooter to be sentenced as adult

The man was just shy of his 18th birthday when he killed four people and injured seven others

Most Read