Smoke billows over the northern shoreline of Nadina Lake, B.C. on 20 August 2018, captured in a photo by a helicopter pilot who has been working on the fires in the area. Photo: Dylan De La Mare

26 August 2018 (The Canadian Press) – Government statistics indicate this year's wildfire season is the second worst in British Columbia's history, burning 945 square kilometres of land.

The BC Wildfire Service says this year's season comes in behind last year, which saw more than 1,200 square kilometres burnt and roughly 65,000 people displaced or evacuated from their homes.

But the provincial agency says 1,981 blazes had ignited in the province as of Sunday — nearly 600 more fires than in 2017.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Northwest Fire Centre based out of Smithers, B.C., has borne the brunt of the this season, seeing roughly 540 square kilometres of fires.

That's nearly five times more than the second-highest region, the Prince George Fire Centre, 370 kilometres southeast of Smithers.

British Columbia wildfire season now second worst in province's history


British Columbia's largest wildfire seasons, through 2017. Graphic: Global News

By Simon Little
26 August 2018

(Global News) – B.C. is dealing with back-to-back record wildfire seasons, with fires across the province now earning 2018 its own dubious distinction.

More than 945,000 hectares have burned across B.C. since 1 April 2018, the second-most in a single season since the province began keeping records in 1950.

The number two position had previously been held by 1958’s wildfire season, when 855,968 hectares burned.

What’s more, that 1958 season had previously held the top slot for more than a half-century, until it was displaced by the record-breaking 2017 season in which more than 1.2 million hectares burned.

With weeks to go in this year’s season, there’s no guarantee that 2018 won’t top last year’s numbers.

BC Wildfire Service fire information officer Kyla Fraser said while the fires this year haven’t reached the massive size of some of those from 2017, they’ve been more geographically dispersed.

“This year has been quite an interesting year just for the fact that all six of our regional fire centres are very busy, so in terms of resourcing that has definitely been a bit of challenge just because the fires are so spread out,” she said.

The service was tracking close to 60 “wildfires of note” — fires large enough or close enough to communities to be of concern — on Sunday, in every corner of B.C.

While the fires have burned nearly as much area as those of 2017, many of them have been more remote, and overall they have been less destructive. […]

As of Saturday, B.C.’s 2018 wildfires had cost the province about $310 million to fight, slightly more than half of last year’s total of $564 million.

That number is closing in on the second-most expensive year in B.C. history, 2015-2016, when the province spent $380 million. [more]

B.C. wildfires have now scorched more land than in any year except 2017, and they’re closing fast

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