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BC is on track for ‘worst fire season on record:’ Wildfire Service

Wildfires are still tearing through the province at an incredible rate.

The BC Wildfire Service’s most recent estimate is 845,000 hectares have burned since April 1st. Approximate hectares lost have grown by 80,000 since Monday’s update and 180,000 since Sunday’s.

August is typically the height of a fire season and if things keep up – as they’re expected to – Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says this will be a historically destructive year.

“Very much an estimate at this point but given where we’re at in the season that number is certainly going to increase so safe to say we are on track for this to be the worst fire season on record.”

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The most destructive fire season on record was in 1958 when BC lost nearly 856,000 hectares.

There are 154 fires currently burning in BC and 1,017 reported blazes since the beginning of the fire season. Suppression efforts have cost over $309 million.

There’s rain in the forecast for many areas in the north this week, Prince George included, but the same can’t be said elsewhere. It’s looking like it’ll be hot and dry across the south this week. Winds are expected to pick up towards the weekend.

“We’ve seen temperatures go down a little bit compared to where we were at over the last few weeks but unfortunately the rain that we saw over the weekend looks like it was very much a temporary fixture,” says Skrepnek.

The Hanceville / Riske Creek fire, burning about 60 kilometers southwest of Williams Lake, is the largest fire in BC right now at an estimated 212,000 hectares. Strong winds and little rain over the weekend caused significant growth there.

There wasn’t much growth on the Elephant Hill wildfire overnight. It’s believed to be about 168,000 hectares.

Skrepnek asks everyone to be extra careful when handling anything that could start a fire, especially in the backcountry. He’s expecting more lightning-caused fires to start up soon and says it’s important resources aren’t wasted on avoidable, man-made fires.

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