It’s now officially BC’s worst fire season on record.
The BC Wildfire Service says the more than one thousand fires this season have charred an estimated 894,000 hectares, breaking the previous BC record set in 1958 of 855,000 hectares, with several weeks still to go in the 2017 season.
“It’s definitely a significant statistic, and I think an unfortunate reflection of the unprecedented nature of what we’re dealing with right now,” says chief information officer Kevin Skrepnek.
Skrepnek says cooler, more seasonable temperatures of late are one silver lining for the rest of the season.
“But having said that, the presence of wind and the lack of rain are going to be much more critical factors, and unfortunately on those two issues, we’re not seeing any relief on the outlook right now,” says Skrepnek.
There are 149 fires burning in BC — including nine new ones since Tuesday.
The cost to fight the fires is 315 million dollars, which is not a record.
Three-hundred-and eighty-two (382) million dollars was spent on fighting over 3,000 fires in 2009.
About 6,000 people are on evacuation order due to fires, with another 22,000 on evacuation alert.
The numbers were reduced Tuesday with the lifting of an alert covering 11,000 residents in Williams Lake, and the lifting of an order covering 1,000 residents of Clinton.
Skrepnek says the Elephant Hill Fire in the Kamloops Fire Centre has seen “limited activity” since Tuesday, and remains at 168,092 hectares.