Record-setting year for wildfires burned 1.2 million hectares in BC

The Southeast portion of British Columbia had more fires than any of the province’s six regions, RDCK directors learned from a report at last Thursday’s monthly meeting in Nelson.

Based at the Castlegar municipal airport, the Southeast fire region extends from the US border to Mica Dam, and from the west side of the Monashee Mountains to the BC/Alberta border on the east.

“This data indicates how fortunate we were in a record-setting year for fires in BC,” Mayor Ron Toyota said on Friday.

Fortunate? There were 372 fires in the Southeast region in 2017 in which 90,472 hectares were burned. By contrast, 271 fires in the Cariboo resulted in 871,071 hectares for forest being burned.

Kamloops was the next hardest hit region, where 269 fires burned 215,412 hectares.

The provincial total of 1.2 million hectares burned, directors were told, equates to more than half of the total size of the RDCK. About $400 million was spent on fire suppression efforts an estimated $200 million in property was recorded.

To put the 90,000-plus hectares burned in the Southeast region into perspective, in the previous 10 years the total amount burned was only 40,000 hectares, or 4,000 hectares per year.

“The efforts required to fight wildfires was astonishing,” Toyota said. On one day alone—September 15—the Southeast Fire Centre coordinated the use of 197 crews (818 firefighters), 38 helicopters and 80 pieces of equipment. Estimated cost for the region’s firefighting efforts runs to $35 million, nearly all of which is born by the Province.

In the Central Kootenay regional district, 10,000 hectares burned over a 66-day period. There were four evacuation alerts and two evacuation orders. Equipment from firehalls in Canyon-Lister, Kaslo, North Shore, Beasley and Ootischenia was used. In addition, Creston firefighting crews and equipment were sent out to help with the province-wide response to the largest recorded fire season in BC history.

“Volunteer firefighters from many local fire departments played a major role in protecting our communities by helping with the suppression efforts and evacuation process,” the report to directors said. “Your expressed gratitude to the crews in your local area would be well received.”

Just Posted

The politics of fear

In a chat with my boss earlier this week I told him that for the first time in my career I am actually wondering about my personal safety.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Watch your mailbox for info on Fire Hall Project Referendum

The newsletter provides a chart that shows the estimated tax amount a household would pay based on the assessed value of their property.

Voters’ guides are in the mail

Voters with questions about the Referendum on Electoral Reform are encouraged to contact Elections BC.

Town Council candidates draw a crowd

More than 200 people filed into Prince Charles Theatre to learn more about Creston Town Council election candidates.

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

Most Read