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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Summerlander receives Emmy nomination for makeup work

Lucky Bromhead recognized for her work with Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek

Mural adds artistic flair to downtown Keremeos

A new, privately commissioned mural has received praise from residents

Morning Start: High heels were first designed for men

Your morning start for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

West Kelowna Fire and Rescue gear up for annual ‘Fire in the Mountains’ initiative

WKPF is offering one individual the opportunity to spend up to 3 days with their firefighter hero’s hiking or paddling in one of BC’s pristine wilderness environments

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

UFO trackers set their sights on Revelstoke skies

Rob Freeman UFO World Explorer and crew went up Sale Mountain

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Vernon officer returns soccer ball and boy’s smile

RCMP officer retrieves errant ball, returns it to five-year-old with cruiser lights flashing

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Researchers find cannabis use in pregnancy linked to greater risk of autism

Researchers caution findings only show association — not cause and effect

Most Read