B.C. has endured a long summer of wildfires and new data from the province shows this season is the third-worst year ever in terms of the total area burned.
Over 858,292 hectares of land have been burned by 1,530 wildfires so far this year. That puts 2021 behind the worst fire season on record, 2017 and 2018, where 1,216,053 and 1,354,284 hectares burned respectively.
Both 2017 and 2018 saw the province spend over $600 million to fight wildfires. A nominal amount of $136 million was budgeted for 2021, but B.C.’s public safety minister Mike Farnworth said the province will “spend what is required” to fight fires burning this year.
B.C. crews are battling fatigue as the wildfire drag on. Todd Nessman manager of fire operations with B.C. Wildfire Service, said they’re seeing an increase of “slips, trips and falls” due to fatigue and BCWS is monitoring closely for fatigue-related safety issues.
Scattered rains and cooler temperatures have helped crews get a handle on some fires in the province, but many areas of concern remain.
A new wildfire on Mt. Hayes near Ladysmith grew to 70 hectares overnight after it was first spotted on Thursday (Aug. 20). The Cowichan Valley Regional District has declared a local state of emergency for the area and a Fortis BC site near the fire has been evacuated. The Mt. Hayes fire is moving away from the municipality.
There are 252 active wildfires in the province with 30 in the Cariboo fire centre, 19 in Coastal, 82 in Kamloops, 52 in Prince George, 66 in Southeast and five in Northwest.
Seventy-five evacuation orders are in place impacting 4,951 properties and 118 evacuation alerts are impacting 19,653 properties.
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