Cattle walk through burned-out forest area along Highway 20 west of Williams Lake. (Coast Mountain News)

2017 now worst wildfire season in B.C.

Total area burned approaching 9,000 square km across the province

The 2017 B.C. wildfire season has surpassed the record for area burned set in 1958, wildfire officials say.

Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said in his daily update call Wednesday that the latest estimate is mostly as a result of mapping work, and is subject to change.

EARLIER: B.C. Wildfire season approaching 2009 record

“And of course we’re only halfway through August, so we expect that to increase,” Skrepnek said. “One silver lining to the weather that we’re seeing right now is that we’re not expecting the return of that massive high pressure … with high temperatures.”

But with no rain expected for southern B.C. and winds expected to pick up towards this weekend, he said it is likely the area burned will continue to increase at least in the short term.

To compound the dry conditions, Williams Lake RCMP had four youths in custody Wednesday, suspected of setting multiple fires in the Lexington subdivision of the city. The arrests came as Williams Lake’s evacuation alert was lifted after weeks of stand-by and an evacuation of the community.

RELATED: RCMP determine Lexington Road fire is caused by arson

Alexis Creek RCMP are also investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed a mobile home 40 km west of the community. The fire did not spread beyond the residence.

Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said the federal and provincial governments are working on a compensation program for farmers and ranchers affected by the fire. The program is to assist with damage to farm operations and loss of grazing land as fires have swept across the ranching territory of the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

RELATED: Financial support offered to fire-affected businesses

“We felt it was extremely important to let farmers and ranchers know that this is underway, to give them some peace of mind,” Popham said.

bc wildfires

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

Goose in Abbotsford rescued after legs wrapped up in fishing line

Wildlife centre operator says people need to be more careful

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Insurance shock for B.C. condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

YThrive Home offers dozens of free workout videos for people during COVID-19 self-isolation period

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Most Read