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Human-caused wildfires dip to lowest rate since 1950 but B.C.’s hot, dry fall a concern

Sept. 1 BC Wildfire Service update
In this June 11, 2019 file photo, firefighter Andrew Pettit walks among the flames during a prescribed fire in Cedar Grove at Kings Canyon National Park, Calif. (Brian Melley/The Associated Press)

There have been fewer severe wildfire incidents this year than compared to summer 2021, said the BC Wildfire Service in a press conference on Sept. 1.

Unlike other years, most fires in the province were caused by lightning. Approximately 75 percent of fires were caused by lightning strikes, which were particularly active in the latter half of August, causing a spike in new blazes.

There was double the number of lightning-caused wildfires throughout August, compared to the 20-year-average.

The province boasted that 2022 saw the lowest rate of human-caused fires since 1950.

The area burned this year-to-date, is 42,997 hectares and significantly less than the “extreme conditions” of 2021, which resulted in 865,839 hectares of scorched land.

Currently, there is one wildfire of note in the province the Dinosaur Lake blaze burning in the Prince George Fire Centre.

Since April 1, there have been 1,355 active fires across B.C. Approximately 93 percent of the blazes are out, under control or being held.

This is lower than the 20-year average for the province, which is 1,515 fires.

The below-average burns are attributed to heavy winter precipitation, cooler spring temperatures, low winds and fewer human-caused fires.

Fall conditions are expected to be warmer than average, and dry, with increased winds, and continued lightning events, which may contribute to new fires.

BC Wildfire now has funding to operate year-round, rather than being restricted to the summer months. The investment into preventative fire management was made in response to the impact of climate change on the province.

READ MORE: Wildfires near Chilliwack Lake causing ‘significant smoke’ for residents

READ MORE: Keremeos Creek wildfire considered held, no longer ‘out of control’

READ MORE: Campfire ban lifted across Okanagan

READ MORE: Lighting-caused wildfire sparks in Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park


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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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