1 wildfire in northeast B.C. has burned nearly twice as much land as entire 2022 season

Click to play video: 'Update on B.C. wildfires situation'
Update on B.C. wildfires situation
Matthew MacDonald of BC Wildfire Services gives us an update on the fire situation in B.C – Jun 2, 2023

A single wildfire in British Columbia’s northeast has already burned through more forest than the entire 2022 B.C. wildfire season.

Speaking with Global News Morning BC, BC Wildfire Service lead forecaster Matt MacDonald said the Donnie Creek fire has now scorched more than 231,000 hectares of land.

In comparison, B.C.’s admittedly milder 2022 season saw 135,235 hectares burned provincewide.

The Donnie Creek wildfire is burning about 136 kilometres southeast of Fort Nelson. It has prompted a state of local emergency along with an evacuation order.

“It remains out of control, unfortunately, and it’s a massive fire,” MacDonald said, adding that a soaking of about 40 millimetres of rain late last month did nothing to slow it down.

“It speaks to how dry the fuels are in the northeast corner of the province.”

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Click to play video: 'Record hot, dry month of May in B.C. with trend to continue'
Record hot, dry month of May in B.C. with trend to continue

As of Friday, there were 54 active fires across B.C., with the province’s northeast — including the Prince George fire centre and the Peace Region — remaining the area of greatest concern.

However, he said the wildfire service has “serious concerns” about the fire risk provincewide this summer, owing to the lingering drought conditions from last year and a relatively dry spring so far.

May and June rains typically determine how severe the province’s wildfire seasons are. May has already been unusually dry, and the first weeks of June are shaping up to be similarly parched, MacDonald said.

Staff with the wildfire service are anxiously watching to see what follows the latest ridge of high pressure come mid-month.

“The crews who have boots on the ground and are seeing the conditions on the landscape that are just exceedingly dry for this time of year,” he said.

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