Smoke billows from a wildfire near Clinton. (Tammy Fisher/Facebook)

2017 the third-worst B.C. wildfire season

426,000 hectares have burned since April 1

There have been 820 fires across B.C. since April 1, according to the BC Wildfire service.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek reported that 13 new fires started Saturday, with 150 currently burning across the province as of 1 p.m. Sunday. Firefighting costs for the 426,000 hectares that have burned this fire season have hit $172.5 million. There are close to 4,000 personnel working across the province as part of the firefighting effort. Of those, 750 are out of province and 1,500 are contractors. The ground crews are supported by 200 aircraft.

RELATED: Justin Trudeau to visit Williams Lake

Although it started slow, 2017 is shaping up to be a fire season for the history books, Skrepnek said. While the number of fires is not unusual, he noted, the sheer amount of hectares burned is.

“That is the third most area burned we’ve ever had in this province’s history,” said Skrepnek. “You’d have to look back till 1961 [when] we had 483,000 hectares burned and then in 1958 we had 855,000 hectares of land burned.”

Those figures are season totals, he noted – leaving plenty of time for 2017 to overtake them.

It’s not expected to get any better – there is no rain expected in the foreseeable future.

VIDEO: Kamloops boater tries to douse wildfire

“We are expecting a fairly dramatic increase in temperatures, potentially reaching 40 degrees [Celsius] in parts of the central and southern interior by next week,” said Skrepnek. “That’s definitely a concern for us.”

The province will get a reprieve from the lightning that has caused many wildfires this summer.

“Any fires are going to be the result of human activity,” said Skrepnek.

RELATED: Smoke in Southern Interior from U.S. wildfires

Windy conditions have made for smoky skies across B.C. and embers blowing across the Bonaparte River caused the 70,387 hectare fire to jump the river. The Village of Clinton was put on evacuation order on Saturday. As of Sunday afternoon, the fire is 30 per cent contained.

“This is going to continue to be a real beast of a fire,” said Skrepnek.

RELATED: Evacuation order issued for village of Clinton, north to Green Lake

There is good news on the wildfire front; the Martin Mountain fire is 90 per cent contained, Skrepnek said. BC Wildfire Service believes that the fire is human-caused but has yet to determine a specific cause.

“The fire is still holding at about 150 hectares in size,” he said. “This fire had a lot of potential to take off… it had a lot of fuel at the head of the fire: an almost uninterrupted sea of timber.”

Emergency Management BC deputy minister Robert Turner said that there are 6,000 wildfire evacuees as of Sunday but that those numbers don’t yet reflect Clinton evacuees.

www.twitter.com

Just Posted

RCMP investigating break and enter at Maple Park Mall

Suspects made away with cash from an ATM on Dec. 11

FHL: Fraser River storms back into first

Steve Dodge brings us all the highlights from the FHL

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Curling Sponsor League still at it

The Wednesday night crew continues to battle it out

Billy Barker Days Fireworks display wowed crowd at Christmas Extravaganza in Quesnel on a foggy evening

Even though the popular summer event cancelled due to wildfire season, Billy Barker came through with big bang fury

VIDEO: Christmas with Quesnel’s InSong Youth Choir

Watch some of InSong’s Dec. 10 Christmas concert

Strong economy fuels housing sales in B.C.: report

Economist says demand for houses is being supported by a large number of millennials entering the market

Tequila, hammers and knives: what not to bring on an airplane

Vancouver International Airport staff provide tips on travelling during the holidays

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

The top-binged shows on Netflix in 2017

Which show did you cheat on your spouse with by watching ahead?

B.C. polygamous leader argues charge should be dropped in charter challenge

Winston Blackmore argues some of the evidence shouldn’t be used against him

LETTER: Proportional representation makes votes count

Fair Vote Canada representative responds to Tom Fletcher column

B.C. dog owners warn about chain collars after puppy almost strangled

Young Rottweiler pup couldn’t breathe after another dog caught tooth on his collar

Accused NYC subway bomber expected to face federal charges

Akayed Ullah, 27, was charged Tuesday with terrorism and weapons related charges

Most Read