Tuesday, September 17, 2019
ADVT 
National

British Columbia Wildfire Season Now Second Worst In Province's History

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 26 Aug, 2018
  • British Columbia Wildfire Season Now Second Worst In Province's History
VICTORIA — A year after the single worst season for wildfires in British Columbia's history, government statistics indicate the 2018 wildfire season has already reached the second-worst mark, burning 945 square kilometres of land so far.
 
 
That should prompt a longer look and more research into the trend, which saw more than 2,100 square kilometres of land burned over the past two years, said the province's chief fire information officer.
 
 
Speaking from the Provincial Wildfire Coordination Centre in Kamloops, B.C., Skrepnek explained how the two seasons have been very different so far.
 
 
He said in 2017, the most troublesome fires all started in a three-day period in early July, burning for months and merging with other fires. While fires merging is a common phenomenon, he said the sheer volume of blazes ignited in those three days created weeks-long battles for firefighters.
 
 
"We had hundreds of fires start in that period. And the major incidents that turned into the massive fires — the 100,000-hectare-plus fires that basically burned until the fall — were in that period," said Skrepnek.
 
 
 
 
In contrast, 2018 has seen almost 600 hundred more fires than 2017, said Skrepnek, but most were more manageable due to a wet spring.
 
 
"We had a wetter June this year which has definitely, definitely been a saving grace for us," he said, adding the rainfall in June that prompted flooding across much of the southern part of province provided firefighters a head start.
 
 
The BC Wildfire Service says last year saw more than 1,200 square kilometres burned and roughly 65,000 people displaced or evacuated from their homes.
 
 
Skrepnek said more structures were destroyed last year than so far in 2018 — roughly 140, although he confirmed more than half were outbuildings and not necessarily residences or homes.
 
 
"It's looking like in the neighbourhood of over 50 homes destroyed," said Skrepnek.
 
 
Susan Williams of Emergency Management BC said it's too early to tell just how many people have been displaced from their homes, but said that between May 24 and Aug. 26, 5,396 people have registered for emergency social services.
 
 
"Not everybody registers, and this includes people who evacuated even if they were under alert, so it takes a while to figure out the other numbers," said Williams from the agency's headquarters near Victoria.
 
 
 
 
Data shows the province spent more than $568 million in firefighting efforts, and while the figures for 2018 are still coming together, Skrepnek estimates they will spend more than $300 million suppressing wildfires.
 
 
"We'll definitely be one of the most expensive on record this year," said Skrepnek.
 
 
Skrepnek said they have approximately 4,500 people currently working under the BC Wildfire Service province-wide, and that his organization would be looking at multiple ways to increase resources.
 
 
He said firefighters contracted from forestry and firefighting companies are always a large part of provincial fire suppression efforts, but this year they added a first-ever pool of roughly 80 "Type 2" firefighters working directly for the BC Wildfire Service.
 
 
"These are contract firefighters, but we train them, and they have to meet a higher fitness standard than other contractors," Skrepnek said.
 
 
The BC Wildfire Service says the Northwest Fire Centre based out of Smithers, B.C., has borne the brunt of the this season, seeing fires that have burned roughly 540 square kilometres.
 
 
That's nearly five times more than the second-highest region, the Prince George Fire Centre, 370 kilometres southeast of Smithers.
 
 
 
 
Before 2017, the worst year for wildfires in B.C. history was 1958, which is now the third-worst year.

MORE National ARTICLES

Fighting Fire With Defiance: Some Stay Home In B.C. To Protect Homes, Property

Fighting Fire With Defiance: Some Stay Home In B.C. To Protect Homes, Property

Rise Johansen is among many British Columbians who have decided against obeying an evacuation order because of a wildfire, choosing instead to remain behind in Takysie to help others who are staying in their homes.

Fighting Fire With Defiance: Some Stay Home In B.C. To Protect Homes, Property

U.S. Senator And Prisoner Of War John McCain Dies At 81, Prominent Canadians Pay Tribute

U.S. Senator And Prisoner Of War John McCain Dies At 81, Prominent Canadians Pay Tribute
Canadian politicians are expressing their sympathies to the family of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has died of brain cancer at the age of 81.

U.S. Senator And Prisoner Of War John McCain Dies At 81, Prominent Canadians Pay Tribute

3-Year-Old Surrey Boy Falls Through Trampoline At Richmond Air Park Where Man Previously Died

3-Year-Old Surrey Boy Falls Through Trampoline At Richmond Air Park Where Man Previously Died

Surrey, B.C. woman Ravi Gill-Douglas's 3-year-old son was at a birthday party at Extreme Air Park when he fell between the springs at the edge of one of the trampolines, hitting the floor below.

3-Year-Old Surrey Boy Falls Through Trampoline At Richmond Air Park Where Man Previously Died

50-Yr-Old Driver Charged After Crashing Stolen Truck On Main Street, 4 Taken To Hospital

50-Yr-Old Driver Charged After Crashing Stolen Truck On Main Street, 4 Taken To Hospital

Andrew Dollman, 50, allegedly crashed a stolen pickup into a Ford Focus and two two parked cars.

50-Yr-Old Driver Charged After Crashing Stolen Truck On Main Street, 4 Taken To Hospital

Fatal Overdose Call Leads To Discovery Of Suspected Drug Lab In East Vancouver

Fatal Overdose Call Leads To Discovery Of Suspected Drug Lab In East Vancouver

Just before 2 a.m. Saturday, Vancouver Police were called to investigate a sudden death, due to an apparent drug overdose, in an apartment on Rhodes Street near East 41st Avenue. 

Fatal Overdose Call Leads To Discovery Of Suspected Drug Lab In East Vancouver

Robbery Suspect Arrested At Abbotsford Home

Robbery Suspect Arrested At Abbotsford Home

A 36-year-old man was taken into custody in Abbotsford, B.C. following reports of a robbery Saturday morning.

Robbery Suspect Arrested At Abbotsford Home

PrevNext