Chief provincial fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek says 1,424 fires consumed more than 3,590 square kilometres of forest this season.
Skrepnek said an intense provincewide hot weather spell in July, where temperatures soared to 40 C in some areas, dried out forests and contributed to extreme fire conditions that lasted much of the summer.
“So, what we saw this year was a below average number of fires, but in terms of the area burned, quite above normal.”
The largest fire of the year occurred near the Chelaslie River near Burns Lake, consuming 1,330 square kilometres. It’s still burning, but 75 per cent contained.
Skrepnek said cooler temperatures and rain showers this week are expected to signal the conclusion of the core fire season.
The top two B.C. fire seasons were recorded in 1958 when fires burned 8,590 square kilometres and in 1961 when 4,830 square kilometres of forest land was burned.
Skrepnek says the provincial government has spent more than $293 million fighting fires this year – with $63 million budgeted.
CBC report – Top picture Donna Dean – 2nd picture ODN