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Fewer wildfires, less scorched land in B.C. so far this year compared to 2018

A grass fire burning 16 kilometres east of Cache Creek, near the Trans-Canada Highway, was listed at approximately 41 hectares in size late Monday.
A grass fire burning 16 kilometres east of Cache Creek, near the Trans-Canada Highway, was listed at approximately 41 hectares in size late Monday. B.C. Wildfire Service

As wildfires go, 2019 has been a relatively quiet year for British Columbia.

Since April 1, there have been 691 wildfires across the province, including 12 in the last seven days, according to the B.C. Wildfire Service. Overall, 21,290 hectares have been scorched.

While those sound like big numbers, they’re a drop in the bucket compared to last year.

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By this point in 2018, there had been 2,005 wildfires, along with nearly a million hectares — 970,827 — burned.

That’s 1,314 fewer fires and 949,537 fewer hectares burned.

The B.C. Wildfire Service says there are several factors contributing to the downturn in wildfires, but the biggest has been the weather — including the amount of precipitation that soaked the province in spring.

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Environment Canada says 2019 has been an average summer so far, with no bursts of extreme heat.

However, the key words are “so far,” with Environment Canada noting that hot weather is in store this week for the Southern Interior, with temperatures expected to climb up to around 30 C.

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As of Tuesday, B.C. Wildfire has no listed “wildfires of note.”

In 2018 at this time, there were several such wildfires.

A map showing wildfires that were burning across B.C. on August 17, 2018.
A map showing wildfires that were burning across B.C. on August 17, 2018. BC Wildfire Service

For example, the Cool Creek wildfire was listed at 17,341 hectares, while the Snowy Mountain fire was sized at 15,189 hectares. Both of those massive fires were located near Keremeos.

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There were also the Mabel Creek fire (1,250 hectares), the Sugar Mountain fire (394 hectares), the Harris Creek Forest Service Road fire (760 hectares), the Mount Gottfriedsen fire (615 hectares) and the Juliet Creek fire (2,432 hectares).

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Kamloops Fire Centre statistics:

  • 2018 (up to Aug. 27): 416 wildfires, 52,511 hectares burned
  • 2019 (up to Aug. 27): 139 wildfires, 4,102 hectares burned

Coastal Fire Centre statistics:

  • 2018 (up to Aug. 27): 274 wildfires, 135,164 hectares burned
  • 2019 (up to Aug. 27): 133 wildfires, 318 hectares burned

On Monday, a grass fire burning east of Cache Creek along the Trans-Canada Highway quickly grew to 41 hectares.

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