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

Over thirteen percent of Bella Coola residents rely on Food Bank

Demand for Christmas Hampers up by 45 families this year

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Verdict to be delivered December 15 for three on trial in Anahim murders

The fates of Christian Craciun, Andrew Jongbloets, and Serena Rhem (Mack) will be decided on December 15 at 10am.

‘I fell asleep’ admits second mate in Nathan E. Stewart fuel spill

The tug spilled more than 100,000 litres of diesel off B.C.’s northern coast

Northwest’s new MRI hits milestone

Stakeholders celebrate 500th scan of diagnostic imaging device

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

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Millennials closing in as B.C.’s biggest wine drinkers

Generation X leads the way in current consumption of B.C. wine, as more wine drinkers are enjoying local varietals

Canadians lag behind Americans in giving to charity

Only one-in-five Canadians donated to charities in 2017

B.C. children adoption rates lagging, despite increased funding: watchdog

More than 1,000 children are still waiting to be adopted, new report shows

FortisBC to lower natural gas rates in 2018

Rate changes to impact the Lower Mainland, Kootenays, Interior and Vancouver Island

Most Read