The 2017 wildfire season officially cracked the one million hectares burned mark on Monday.
Since April 1st, there have been 1,064 fires with 135 fires currently burning in the province including seven new ones that began on Sunday.
Chief Fire Information Officer Kevin Skrepnek says Wednesday and Thursday are shaping up to be active weather days.
“The wildcard at this point is whether that is going to be bringing rain with it, we are certain at this point it is going to be bringing some wind and it is likely going to cool temperatures down a little bit but the rain that it brings will be the real critical factor here.”
While the south will be calm and seasonal, it will be a much different story in the north. “We are expecting showers and cooler temperatures for the northern part of the province particularly the north coast,” says Skrepnek.
The Plateau wildfire in the Cariboo is the largest ever in the province’s history according to Skrepnek.
It’s 467,461 hectares in size and is a combination of 19 different fires that have come together over the past six weeks.
“It also creates a bit of a headache in terms of our own records and that is why we have had some issues in providing that hectares number.”
Over 400 firefighters, 25 helicopters and 73 pieces of equipment are battling the blaze.
While the number of wildfires remains well below the seasonal average, the number of hectares burned more than makes up for it.
“We had a very quiet spring and the big story across most of the province was flooding, we had unusually low fire numbers going into late June and early July when things start to pick up,” Skrepnek says. “If you were to look at it in terms of the number of fires we had it hasn’t been a significant season but taking everything else into account particularly of the factors that we’re talking about in terms of the hectares burnt and that specific number around the actual number of fires we responded to doesn’t really tell the whole tale.”
The Hanceville/Riske Creek fire is 227,000 hectares in size.
According to Emergency Management BC, 3,800 people remain on evacuation order while another 9,700 are on evacuation alert.
Fire suppression costs have risen to $352 million dollars with over 3,700 fire personnel currently battling the blazes.